Male burying beetles in the Genus Nicrophorus have two ways to find a mate. The beetle may fly to the carcass of a dead animal and mate with females who are also attracted to the dead carcass. Alternatively, males can emit a pheromone that is attractive to females and mate with a female in hopes that she will eventually locate a suitable carcass to lay her fertilized eggs. Males can alter the time spent searching for a carcass or calling with pheromone. Males that succeed in locating a carcass spend more time searching for carcasses and less time pheromone calling that males that have located a carcass. We do not yet know what factors are important in triggering the change in male mate search behavior.
Tess E. P. Mulrey, Anne-Katrin Eggert, Scott K. Sakaluk. 2015. Switching tactics: phenotypic plasticity in the alternative mate-finding tactics of burying beetles. Animal Behaviour 108 (2015) 175e182