Reproductive Biology and Behavior of Rhabditis pellio, (Schneider) (Rhabditida: Rhabditidae)

J. A. Somers, H. H. Shorey, Lyle K. Gaston


Laboratory studies were conducted on the mating behavior of Rhabditis pellio males and females, which were maintained on a culture of Flavobacterium sp. bacteria isolated from earthworms. The mean time that elapsed between first contact of the sexes and their ultimate separation was 23.2 min. However, only 5.0 min were required for copulation (the interval during which male spicules were inserted into the female vagina). Three-day-old females that were permitted to mate once on their first day of adult life produced only one-third as many larvae as did females that were permitted unlimited mating. However, the longevity of females was found to decrease with an increase in the number of matings. Both males and females that were permitted to mate daily produced the greatest number of offspring when they were 4 days old. When the initiation of mating was delayed beyond their third day of life, the number of larvae produced by females decreased. In approximately one-half of the copulations, males failed to inseminate their female partners. Key Words: Sexual behavior, reproductive potential, fecundity.

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