Sexual Behavior of the Desert Locust During Intra- and Inter-Phase Interactions

Y. Golov, J. Rillich, M. Douek, A. R. Harari, A. Ayali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mating and reproduction behaviors and strategies are fundamental aspects of an organism’s evolutionary and ecological success. In locusts, intra- as well as inter-phase reproductive interactions among gregarious and solitarious locust populations have a major impact on the locust population dynamics. However, practically all previous work on locust sexual behavior has been limited to the gregarious phase. Here we provide a first detailed description of pre-copulatory behavior of solitarious desert locusts. We compare our findings with those of previous reports of pre-copulatory behavior of gregarious locusts, focusing on the behavioral elements that serve in inter-sex signaling and communication. We also studied inter-phase (mixed pairs) reproductive interactions. Solitarious males were found to invest more in pre-copulatory courtship and signaling compared to their gregarious counterparts; and solitarious females played a more dominant role in the inter-sex communication than gregarious females. The solitarious females were also less likely to demonstrate rejection-related behavioral patterns than gregarious females. As a consequence of the particular characteristic behavior of each phase, the most successful among intra- and inter-phase pairs were gregarious males with solitary females. Least successful were solitary males paired with gregarious females, indicating a strong asymmetry in inter-phase reproductive interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)629-641
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Insect Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Schistocerca gregaria
  • locust density-dependent phase polyphenism
  • reproductive phenotype
  • sexual behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Insect Science


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