Wildlife can protect themselves from extinction: Study on Tiny Jewels

Jewel Wasp

With an increase in human population and global warming, many species of flora and fauna around the globe have gone extinct while many others are at the verge of extinction. Researchers are conducting various studies to save critically endangered species through understanding their life cycle and mating behavior and mating them in the lab to increase the population. 

One such study based on tiny wasp’s mating behavior, researchers from the University of St Andrews have discovered some important clues that can help animals from getting extinct. The study revealed that in-vitro conditions, female wasps that mated with several males, tend to live longer.

Mating behavior observed in jewel wasps

Researchers David Shuker and Rebecca Boulton thoroughly studied the behavior of jewel wasps, (Nasonia vitripennis) captured from a national park in the Netherlands. They observed that females seldom mate more than once and are monandrous. But under lab conditions, females opted to mate more than once as they had several mating opportunities. This shift in mating behavior increased the wasp’s lifespan as well as in the overall number of productions of eggs.

Female wasps that mate with virgin males were seen to lay more eggs. The total number of eggs increased further if the female happens to mate with two or three virgin males, said Ms Boulton. If female wasps mate with several males, which had previously mated with another female, they tend to lay fewer eggs than they would if they just mate once.

Laboratory conditions provide the females with more males than they might find in the wild and so the possibility that a female might mate with one or more virgin male increases too. If female wasp in the lab expects advantages of mating with multiple virgin males then probably it might be one of the major factors that females choose to mate more than once than the wasps in the wild.

Ms Boultan believes that the findings from the study will help in saving endangered animals by changing the mating behavior of these animals under lab conditions. At least multiple mating behaviors will cut the changes of females not conceiving at all and hence can protect animals from extinction.

Source: University of St Andrews

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