• Attractive silences in cricket courtship song : mate choice using a short-range signal /

      Fitzpatrick, Mark Jeffrey.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 2000-05-21)
      Matings systems using signals for sexual communication have been studied extensively and results commonly suggest that females use these signals for locating males, species-identification, and mate choice. Although numerous mating systems employ multiple signals, research has generally focused on long-range signals perhaps due to their prominence and ease of study. This study focused on the short-range acoustic courtship song of crickets. The results presented here suggest this signal is under selection by female choice. Females mated preferentially with males having shorter silences between the two types of ticks within the song. The length of these silences (Gap 1) was correlated with male condition such that males having long silences were significantly lower in mass with respect to body size when compared to males having short silences. Both Gap 1 length and male condition were significantly repeatable within males over time suggesting the possibility these traits have a genetic basis. This study is the first empirical study to test female preferences within the natural variation of the courtship song. It now appears, at least in crickets, that both the longand short-range signals of a multi-signal mating system may contribute to male mating success.