Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Data from: Size, sounds and sex: interactions between body size and harmonic convergence signals determine mating success in Aedes aegypti


Cator, Lauren J.; Zanti, Zacharo (2017), Data from: Size, sounds and sex: interactions between body size and harmonic convergence signals determine mating success in Aedes aegypti, Dryad, Dataset,


Background: Several new mosquito control strategies will involve the release of laboratory reared males which will be required to compete with wild males for mates. Currently, the determinants of male mating success remain unclear. The presence of convergence between male and female harmonic flight tone frequencies during a mating attempt have been found to increase male mating success in the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti. Size has also been implicated as a factor in male mating success. Here, we investigated the relationships among body size, harmonic convergence signalling, and mating success. We predicted that harmonic convergence would be an important determinant of mating success and that large individuals would be more likely to converge. Methods: We used diet to manipulate male and female body size and then measured acoustic interactions during mating attempts between pairs of different body sizes. Additionally, we used playback experiments to measure the direct effect of size on signalling performance. Results: In live pair interactions, harmonic convergence was found to be a significant predictor of copula formation. However, we also found interactions between harmonic convergence behaviour and body size. The probability that a given male successfully formed a copula was a consequence of his size, the size of the female encountered, and whether or not they converged. While convergence appears to be predictive of mating success regardless of size, the positive effect of convergence was modulated by size combinations. In playbacks, adult body size did not affect the probability of harmonic convergence responses. Conclusions: Both body size and harmonic convergence signalling were found to be determinants of male mating success. Our results suggest that in addition to measuring convergence ability of mass release lines that the size distribution of released males may need to be adjusted to complement the size distribution of females. We also found that diet amount alone cannot be used to increase male mating success or convergence probability. A clearer understanding of convergence behaviours, their relationship to mating success, and factors influencing convergence ability would provide the groundwork for improving the mating performance of laboratory reared lines.

Usage Notes