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Sexual dimorphism in the badlands cricket (Orthoptera, Gryllinae, Gryllus personatus)

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body size, geometric mean size, Gryllinae, sexual shape dimorphism, sexual size dimorphism

Abstract (summary)

Sexual dimorphism (SD) is a common phenomenon in sexual species and can manifest in a variety of ways. Sexual size dimorphism (SSD) is commonly investigated, but it can be confounded with sexual shape dimorphism (SShD) if multivariate measures of size are not used. Univariate studies may also overestimate the prevalence or direction of SSD when the sexes are strikingly different in shape, which may be an issue in taxa such as Orthoptera and other terrestrial arthropods where maximum body size is strongly constrained. Here we tested for the occurrence of both SSD and SShD in the badlands cricket Gryllus personatus (Orthoptera, Gryllinae). We measured four body size dimensions—maxillae span, head width, pronotum length, and mean hind femur length—and used multivariate methods to test whether male and female adult badlands crickets were sexually dimorphic in size and/or shape. All the univariate dimensions were sexually dimorphic, with males having wider heads and maxillae than females and females having longer pronota and hind femora than males, which indicates SShD. However, multivariate methods failed to detect SSD, instead confirming that the sexes primarily differ in body shape. We show how a simple ratio of head width to pronotum length captures SShD in badlands crickets and apply it to iNaturalist, a citizen science platform, to broaden our findings. We propose that orthopterists studying SD minimally measure head width, pronotum length, and hind femur length as a standard that will allow a more repeatable and generalizable assessment of the prevalence and direction of both SSD and SShD.

Publication Information

Madera E. M., & Judge, K. A. (2023) Sexual dimorphism in the badlands cricket (Orthoptera, Gryllinae, Gryllus personatus). Journal of Orthoptera Research 32(2): 119–126.


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Attribution (CC BY)