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Genital morphology and copulatory behavior in triatomine bugs (Reduviidae: Triatominae)

Tellez–Garcia, A.A., Bello-Bedoy, R., Enríquez-Vara, J.N., Córdoba–Aguilar, A., Gutiérrez–Cabrera, A.E.
Arthropod structure & development 2019 v.49 pp. 103-118
Chagas disease, Triatominae, arthropods, blood, copulation, females, male genitalia, males, oviducts, rearing, spermatheca, spermatozoa, testes
Triatomines (Heteroptera: Reduviidae) include around 139 species, widely known as vectors of Chagas disease. Our aim is to review the existing knowledge of the genital morphology and sexual behavior and provide some functional analysis of these traits in triatomines. A complex set of traits comprise genitalia and these are highly variable among species. The components of the phallus and seminal products (secreted by action of testes and two accessory glands) interact to allow successful sperm transfer to the female spermathecae (usually a pair of blind tubes that emerge from the common oviduct). Seminal products may inhibit female physiology and extend mating duration. Mating behavior in triatomines is best characterized as scramble competition. We suggest that males may evaluate female condition prior to copulation, given that female fitness is largely affected by food (blood) source. Although rearing several triatomine species may be difficult and discourage from undertaking studies on this group, any further investigation on sexual behavior and mating interactions may provide data for applicative studies including Chagas disease vectors control.