Evolutionary Genomics Seminar Vol.1_Mysterious mating behavior of a subsocial wood-feeding cockroach: female and male eat their wings one another, presented by Haruka Osaki, Postdoc at Kyoto University
Females and males in mating pairs eat the wings of one another after flying and copulation in a wood-feeding cockroach, Salganea taiwanensis. During this mating behavior, which we call “mutual wing eating,” the female and male eat the mate’s entire wings except for small parts around the bases. After that, the female and male take care of their offspring biparentally and are considered to mate only one individual through their lives. Mutual wing eating is unique in the following two points in the social context. First, they eat the body parts of an alive nestmate. The other point is that the mate is the individual who reproduces with them through their lives. Their subsocial life history may answer this mystery. The parents of S. taiwanensis take care of the offspring in tunnels of rotten logs. In such a closed environment, they need hygiene management. Actually, the wings on the cockroaches are a breeding ground for ticks or pathogen in culture. If mutual wing-eating plays a role in hygiene management, this may be interpreted as a kind of social immunity in subsocial species. I propose hypotheses of the significance of mutual wing-eating considering these ecological traits of S. taiwanensis in this seminar.