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Some Bugs Will Stop Mating When Weather Conditions Change

Filed under: Bugs — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 3:57 pm October 25, 2017

Some Bugs Will Stop Mating When Weather Conditions Change

We have all heard that some animals behave strangely before storms. Dogs and cats are the animals most often cited for their abilities to foretell weather changes, but there is not much scientific evidence to back up this claim. However, a recent study has shown that some insects will change their behavior in response to oncoming storms. More specifically, insects will cease to mate once they detect changes in atmospheric pressure.

Researchers working at the University of Western Ontario along with researchers from the University of São Paulo have been working with lab insects in order to determine the insect’s ability to detect changes in the weather. The researchers discovered that male beetles avoided mating with females once atmospheric pressure began to rapidly drop. The male beetles typically mate when they sense the female’s pheromones. But female sex pheromones failed to prompt male lab beetles into mating during times when levels of atmospheric pressure changed. Eventually, researchers placed a male beetle next to a female in order to observe the male’s sexual behavior as atmospheric pressure in their environment dropped. In these cases the males quickly mated with the females. However, the males would bypass all the usual courting and pre-mating rituals in order to speed the mating along as quickly as possible. Researchers believe that the beetles rushed into copulation in order to resume taking cover from an oncoming storm.

It turns out that beetles are not the only types of insects that can sense oncoming storms. Researchers found similar behavior among moths and aphids. The females belonging to these two insects ceased their usual “calling” behavior, which signifies to males that females are ready to mate. It was clear that the males were also less interested in mating. Researchers believe that this insect behavior has developed in order to increase the chances of survival during violent storms, and therefore, to allow insects to carry on their genes.

Do you think that this pre-storm self-protective behavior has developed among most, or all, insect species?