This month has also seen the publication of another paper of mine (in collaboration with Leigh Simmons), again in Proceedings B, but this time using micro-CT to examine the timing and location of female copulatory wounding in Callosobruchus maculatus. For this project I performed micro-CT scans of 19 mating pairs of C. maculatus that had been flash-frozen in liquid Nitrogen at different stages of mating. We then used these scans to examine the interactions between male and female genitalia during mating, and visualise these interactions in unprecedented detail.
Importantly, we were able to use the scan data to detect copulatory wounding of females without having to wait for an immune response, which is needed when assessing wounding using a light microscope. We could therefore use the micro-CT technique to examine how tract damage accumulates during mating, and how the timing of damage relates to female mating behaviour.
This paper is also a showcase for the power of micro-CT to aid our understanding of reproductive behaviour and morphology, and I hope it inspires more people to use this technique in the future!
Please follow this link, or the relevant link on the publications page, to read the full paper.