• Body size in the field cricket Gryllus integer (Orthoptera : Gryllidae) :heritability and male mating success

      McGowan, Elizabeth Jean.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1986-07-09)
      The influence of male body weight on the aggressive and mating behaviour of male Gryllus integer was studied under laboratory conditions. The relationship between adult age and weight was first determined; female weight increased and male weight decreased with age. Virgin males that had been isolated since the adult molt were paired for similar age and a difference in weight of greater than 200 mg. Paired males and a virgin female were observed in a glass arena for 24 minutes or until a mating occurred. Larger males mated significantly more often than smaller males. Larger males attacked more often, were more successful in aggressive encounters and had more contact with the female. Males that did not mate had lower rates of courtship and mounts than males that mated. Females in trials that did not result in a mating were signifcantly heavier than females in trials that resulted in a mating. Larger males that mated were significantly closer in weight to the weight of the female than larger males in trials that did not result in a mating. Larger males in trials that did not result in a mating had higher rates of aggressive stridulation than larger males that mated. Male weight is therefore important in mating success; fitness traits should theoretically show low genetic variability. However, significant heritability values were found for live weight, dry weight, head width, pronotum width and length, hind femur length and forewing length when estimated from the regression of offspring on mid-parent values, offspring and female and male values separately and full-sib correlations. The heritability of hind femur width was significant when estimated from the regression of offspring on male parent and from full-sib correlations. Heritability estimates of forewing length were significantly higher when estimated from the regression of offspring on female parent than when estimated from the regression of offspring on male parent. High phenotypic, genetic and environmental correlations were found between all pairs of traits. Data on male mating success and the heritability of fitness traits were discussed in terms of the maintenance of genetic variability.