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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2006 Feb 28;361(1466):269-75.

Trauma, disease and collateral damage: conflict in cimicids.

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  • 1Department of Animal & Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK.


The bed bugs and bat bugs (Hemiptera: Cimicidae) are unusual in being a gonochorist (separate male and female genders) taxon with obligate traumatic insemination. Males of all the species in this family have a lanceolate paramere (intromittent organ) which they use to pierce the female's body wall and inseminate directly into her haemocoel, despite the presence of a functional female genital tract. Mating is tightly linked to the feeding cycle in Cimex lectularius, the common bed bug. In this paper, I examine key aspects of the reproductive anatomy and behaviour of C. lectularius that underpin the nature of the conflict over mating rate in this species. I then examine the consequences of traumatic insemination for female fitness and examine potential mechanisms that might underpin those costs. Finally, the collateral consequences of the male reproductive tactic on other males of C. lectularius and the African bat bug, Afrocimex constrictus are examined.

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