Quantity and Quality of Available Mates Alters Female Responsiveness but not Investment in the Pacific Field Cricket, Teleogryllus Oceanicus

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Biological Sciences


Mating signals, Field crickets, Quality and quantity, Female mating, Phonotaxis


An individuals’ experience with conspecific signaling during development can lead to variation in their mating signals and behavior later in life. It is unclear whether experience with sexual signals also alters receivers’ fitness through changes in investment in offspring. Male field crickets attract mates using a long-distance calling song. To determine how developmental experience with calling song quality and quantity alters mating responsiveness and fitness, we raised juvenile female Teleogryllus oceanicus in five acoustic environments. These environments mimicked two mate quantities (high and low) crossed with two mate qualities (high and low), and a silent control. At adulthood, we measured females’ responsiveness in phonotaxis trials. Following phonotaxis, females were offered opportunities to mate and lay eggs. We measured egg number and proportion hatching as components of fitness and reproductive investment. Corroborating previous research in this system, female crickets raised in silence approached a broadcast calling song nearly 45% faster than their counterparts reared hearing a high-quantity/high-quality combination of calling song. Additionally, females adjusted other aspects of phonotaxis behavior in response to the quantity, but not quality of song. We found no evidence that females adjusted mating rates or investment in offspring. Regardless of acoustic experience, females laid equivalent numbers of eggs that had equivalent hatching success. Our results show that female mating behavior responds to juvenile experience mimicking a lack of mating opportunities, but is less responsive to variation in mate quality. Furthermore, reproductive investment may be less plastic than mating behavior.

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