Sexual selections in the northern fall field cricket, Gryllus pennsylvanicus: a manipulation of the adult sex ratio
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The operational sex ratio has long been considered an important constraint on the structure of mating systems. The effects of an experimentally manipulated sex ratio on mating behavior and selection were investigated in a polygynous species, Gryllus pennsylvanicus, where the potential exists for spatial/temporal fluctuations in sex ratio of field populations. Four different sex ratios (males: females, 5:0, 5:2, 5:5, 5:10) were investigated. Observations were conducted in late summer over two field seasons, from 2400 h , to 1000 h EST. Several male characters thought to be associated with male reproduc.tive success were studied: calling duration, searching distance, weight, fighting behavior, courtship frequency, and mating success. Variance in male mating success was used as the indicator for the opportunity for sexual selection. Total selection was estimated as the univariate regression coefficient between relative fitness and the character of interest, while direct selection was estimated as standardized partial regression coefficients generated from a multiple regression of relative fitness on each character. The opportunity for sexual selection was highest at 5:2 and lowest at 5:10. The frequency of fighting behavior was highest at 5:2 and 5:5. Fighting ability (% wins) was determined to be an important correlate of male body weight. Direct selection for increased male body weight was detected at 5:2, while total selection for body weight was seen at 5:5. Selection on male body weight was not detected at 5: 10. Calling duration decreased as sex ratio became more female-biased. Total and direct selection were detected for increased calling at 5:2, only total selection for calling was seen at 5:5, whereas direct selection against calling was detected at 5: 10. Searching distance also decreased as sex ratio became more female-biased, however no form of selection was detected for searching at any of the sex ratios. Data are discussed in terms of sexual selection on male reproductive tactics, the mating system and maintenance of genetic variation in male reproductive behavior.