Listening to male song induces female field crickets to differentially allocate reproductive resources

Faculty Advisor
differential allocation , Gryllus pennsylvanicus , mate choice , maternal effects , reproductive compensation , sexual selection
Abstract (summary)
Differential investment in offspring by mothers is predicted when there is substantial variation in sire quality. Whether females invest more resources in the offspring of high-quality mates (differential allocation, DA) or in the offspring of low-quality mates (reproductive compensation, RC) is not consistent in the literature and both effects can be predicted by theoretical models. In the field cricket, Gryllus pennsylvanicus Burmeister, 1838 (Orthoptera: Gryllidae: Gryllinae), females are attracted more to calling songs of high-quality males than to those of low-quality males. We tested whether females invest reproductive resources differentially based on perceived mate quality. We manipulated female perception of male quality by allowing virgin females to approach a speaker broadcasting either high- or low-quality calling song (high or low calling effort respectively), and then mated them with a randomly chosen male that had been rendered incapable of calling. In the week following mating, females exposed to high-quality calling song gained less weight, laid more embryos, and laid larger embryos than females exposed to low-quality calling song, although only the first of these effects was statistically significant. These results support the DA hypothesis and suggest that females invest their reproductive output based on a trait (calling effort) that is an honest indicator of male quality.
Publication Information
Ting, J. J., Judge, K. A., & Gwynne, D. T. (2017). Listening to male song induces female field crickets to differentially allocate reproductive resources. Journal of Orthoptera Research, 26(2), 205-210. doi:10.3897/jor.26.19891
Item Type
Attribution (CC BY)