Mating scale insects

Title Info
Common name Scale Insect, Giant
Scientific name Margarodidae
Taxonomic group Homoptera
Level Family
Source Dan L. Perlman
Selection and adaptations Selection
Selection Sexual selection
Behavior Communication; Mating
Organisms Animals
Animals Insects
Location Monteverde,Puntarenas,Costa Rica,North America
Giant scale insects mating, Costa Rica
Related materials: Giant Scale Insects
Compare the male and female giant scales for a great example of sexual dimorphism. The image of them mating shows that they are of the same species. Click the Related materials link to see all three images.

Giant scale insects mating, Costa Rica. The mottled gray object in this image is a giant scale insect female, about 1/4 of an inch long (approximately 6 mm), and the colorful insect is a giant scale insect male. He is winged and highly mobile, unlike the wingless and sedentary females who just sit, feed, call males, and mate. This male has been called in by a female in the late afternoon, presumably when she released one or more sex pheromones, and they are now mating. This is an outstanding example of sexual dimorphism and sexual selection. The male is brightly colored, winged, and mobile, and functions as a moving sack of sperm; the female need only stay put, feed, attract mates, and produce large numbers of eggs. Each sex is clearly optimized for its function.