International Journal of Tropical Insect Science

, Volume 6, Issue 6, pp 637–644 | Cite as

Sound Production Associated with Sexual Behaviour of the Tsetse, Glossina morsitans morsitans

  • R. K. Saini


Sounds produced in relation to the sexual behaviour of the tsetse, Glossina m. morsitans, were investigated. During mating, a receptive virgin female adopted a relatively passive role while the male produced sound and drummed her with the tarsi of the meso- and metathoracic legs upto about 4–5 min immediately after mounting. During the long cppulatory phase, the male only produced sound when the female became restless or the pair was disturbed. No sounds were produced during the ejaculatory phase after which the flies separated.

Immediately after separation, the females were often receptive for further short copulations, but were completely unreceptive 24 hr later and showed vigorous repellent behaviour. The post-copulatory behaviour patterns and the rejection behaviour of the female were also accompanied by sound production. Although males readily mated with freshly killed females with the usual mating behaviour, sound production was less intense than when the females were live.

Mating sounds were composed of frequencies up to 50 kHz with the exception of the sounds produced by males, while mating with freshly killed females which not only lacked any ultrasonic components, but were also of low intensity. The most dominant frequency was centered between 1.5 and 2.5 kHz. Peaks were also observed between 0.5 and 0.8 kHz, around 5 and 9 kHz. On the basis of intensity, it is suggested that the frequency components below 10 kHz carry the most important part of the acoustic signal.

Key Words

Glossina tsetse mating behaviour sound production post-copulatory behaviour 


Des sons associés au comportement sexuel du tsétsé ont été étudiés. Pendant l’accouplement, la femelle vierge adoptait un rôle relativement passif tandis que le mâle produisait du son et la battait avec les tarses de ses pattes méso- et métathoraciques pendant approx. 4–5 min immédiatement après l’avoir montée. Pendant la longue phase d’accouplement, le mâle ne produisait du son que quand la femelle se débatait ou quand le couple était dérangé. Il n’y avait aucun son produit pendant la phase éjaculatoire après laquelle les mouches se séparaient.

Immédiatement après la séparation, les femelles étaient prêtes à s’engager dans d’autres accouplements de courte durée, mais 24 hr après, elles manifestaient un comportment vigoureusement répulsif. Le comportement de rejet de la femelle après l’accouplement était aussi accompagné par la production de son. Quoique les mâles s’accouplaient aisément avec les femelles récemment tuées en suivant le comportement normal d’accouplement, la production de son était moins intense que quand les femelles étaient vivantes.

Les sons d’accouplement étaient composés de fréquences atteignant 50 kHz, à l’exception des sons produits par les mâles pendant leur accouplement avec les femelles récemment tuées qui non seulement manquaient toute composante ultrasonique, mais étaient aussi de faible intensité.

La fréquence la plus dominante était centrée entre 1,5–2,5 kHz. Des apogées étaient aussi observées entre 0,5–0,8 kHz, autour de 5 et 9 kHz. Sur la base de l’intensité, il faut suggérer que les composantes de fréquence au-dessous de 10 kHz portent la partie la plus importante du signal accoustique.

Mots Cléfs

Glossina tsétsé comportement pendant l’accouplement production de son comportement 


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Copyright information

© ICIPE 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. K. Saini
    • 1
  1. 1.International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE)NairobiKenya

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