D0148 Female house crickets, Acheta domesticus, use multiple modes of communication to assess size in males

Monday, December 13, 2010
Grand Exhibit Hall (Town and Country Hotel and Convention Center)
Brent Stoffer , Biological Sciences, California State University, Fullerton, Fullerton, CA
Sean Walker , Biological Sciences, California State University, Fullerton, Fullerton, CA
Females from various animal taxa benefit from mating with large males, and males can use different communication modes to convey their size. Larger male house crickets, Acheta domesticus, have better immunocompetence. Because the number of pulses per chirp in the calling song of A. domesticus is positively correlated with body size, females can use acoustic signals to locate desirable males. However, not much is known as to how these acoustic signals interact with other types of signals. We used a combination of one hundred two-choice tests to further verify whether females prefer larger males when presented with only acoustic signals. Female house crickets spent more time near speakers playing the calling song of a large male than the calling song of a small male. We also investigated whether females preferred to mount large males using non-acoustic signals when presented with two choices. Wing-clipped males that were mounted first on two consecutive trials had significantly larger pronotum widths and masses than wing-clipped males that were not mounted first on two consecutive trials. Finally, we pre-exposed females to a calling song of a small or large male and then presented the female with a small or large wing-clipped male. Once males initiated courtship, large males had the lowest latency to mount, regardless of calling song quality. However, calling song quality did decrease the latency to mount for small males. These results suggest that while females can assess size using acoustic signals, females can re-assess size using signals at a shorter range.

doi: 10.1603/ICE.2016.52843