Male-killing bacteria makes female butterflies more promiscuous
6 February 2007
A study at UCL has found that a high-prevalence of male-killing bacteria active in many species of insect including the butterfly, actually increases female promiscuity and male fatigue.
The team found that when the male insect population drops - killed off by the bacteria - the female butterfly becomes more sexually rampant. Males on the other hand show signs of fatigue and put less effort into mating.
In some populations of tropical butterfly the entire mating system is determined by a group of bacteria known as Wolbachia, according to the study, published in the journal 'Current Biology'.
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