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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


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Attribution (CC BY)