The effect of social condition and diet on the frequency of male-male agonistic displays in the field cricket, gryllus bimaculatus /
Tachon, Gabrielle Rachel.
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The frequency and type of agonistic displays involved in male-male encounters should be significantly influenced by the presence of females. Discrete agonistic displays vary in energy expenditure and risk, and therefore should be dependent on available resources. The influence of live females and the scent of females, on the frequency of male agonistic displays was observed in a laboratory terrarium using the field cricket Gryllus bimaculatus. The effect of energy constraints on display frequency was also determined. Half the males were fed a diet high in protein and fet; the other males were fed a lower quality diet, for a 7-11 day period. The frequency of five individual displays and mating frequency were recorded using an Event Recorder and notebook. Each group of males was presented with three experimental conditions, over three days, involving the presence or absence of live females and female scent. The presence of females elicited an increase in all displays except antennation; female scent increased the frequency of antennations, mandible flares and grapples, but to a lesser extent than did live females. The frequency of grapples significantly increased for males fed the high quality diet; however diet did not influence the other displays. The combined influence of diet and condition was significant for mandible flare only. Mating frequency was not influenced by diet. However, the frequency ofthe displays were positively correlated with mating frequency for high quality fed males. Escalated displays involving high costs, such as grapple and mandible flare, increased in frequency when the benefits of winning contests were high in G.bimaculatus. Escalation to grapple behaviour was less evident for males fed the lower quality diet as this imposed energy constraints on high cost displays.