Mating behaviours of the field cricket (Gryllus integer) at different levels of male density
Graham, Katherine Diane.
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The reproductive behaviour of the field cricket, Gryllus integer, was systematically observed in indoor arenas to determine the extent of female Choice and male-male competition at different sex ratios representing two male densities (12:6 and 6:6). The costs and benefits to males and females in those two densities were analyzed according to the theory of the evolution o£ leks. Observations were conducted during the dark hours when most calling occurred since hourly rates of courtship song and mating did not fluctuate significantly over a 24 h period. Female mating rates were not significantly different between densities, therefore males at high densities were not advantaged because of increased female tendencies to mate when social stimulation was increased. Mean rates of acoustical signalling (calling and courtin"g) did not differ significantly between densities. Mean rates of fighting by males at the high density were significantly greater than those of males at the low density. Mating benefits associated with callin~courting and fighting were measured. Mating rates did not vary with rates of calling at either density. Calling was not a prerequisite to mating. Courtship song preceded all matings. There was a significant power fit between male mating and courting rates, and male mating and fighting rates at the low, but not at the high, density. Density differences in the benefits associated with increased courting and fighting may relate, in part, to greater economic defensibility and monopoly of females due to reduced male competition at the low density. Dominant males may be preferentially chosen by females or better able to monopolize mating opportunities than subordinate males. Three criteria were used to determine whether dominant males were preferentially chosen by females. The number of matings by males who won fights (within 30 min of mating) was significantly greater than the number of matings by males who were defeated in such fights. Mating rates did not vary significantly with rates of winning at either density. There was a significant power fit between male mating rates and the percentage of fights a male won (irrespective of his fighting-frequency) at the low density. The mean duration a male guarded the female after mating did not vary significantly between densities. There was a significant linear relationship between the duration a spermatophore was retained and the duration a male guarded the female after mating. Courtship song apparently stimulated spermatophore removal. Male guarding involved inter-male aggression and reduced courtship attempts by other males. Males at the high density received no apparent reproductive benefits associated with increased social stimulation. Conclusive evidence for preferential choice of males by females, using the criteria examined here, is lacking. Males at the lower density had fewer competitors and could monopolize females more effectively.