The Energetics of Male Mating Strategies in Field Crickets (Orthoptera: Gryllinae: Gryllidae)

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Abstract

Male field crickets (Gryllinae: Gryllidae: Orthoptera) vary in their mating strategies, particularly in whether they call from defended sites to attract phonotactic females or roam silently in search of potential mates. To better understand the economics underlying these alternative strategies, respirometry was employed to examine the energetic costs of each strategy's component behaviors for a representative species, Acheta domesticus. Advertisement calling in this species, composed of low pulse rate chirps, is an order of magnitude less energetically costly than walking per unit time. However, for gryllids that advertise call with higher pulse rate trills, calling and walking appear to be of equivalent energetic cost. Thus, if energetic costs are important in determining grylline mating strategies, trillers and chirpers should have different sensitivities to change in factors affecting the relative payoffs of each strategy. Field studies of changes in mating behavior with increased population density support this argument. This study also determined that courtship calling by A. domesticus was over twice as energetically costly as advertisement calling per unit time, suggesting its importance as a more reliable indicator of signaler, or mate, quality.

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