• Heritability of multiple mating by female field crickets, Gryllus integer (Orthoptera: Gryllidae)

      Solymar, Brent D.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1988-07-09)
      The heritability of multiple mating in female Gryllus integer crickets was studied. Two preliminary experiments were conducted to determine when females first mate following the post-imaginal moult and to ascertain whether constant exposure to males affects female mating rate. Female Q. integer first mated at an average age of 3.6 days (S.D. = 2.3, Range = 0-8 days) . Exposing female crickets to courting males 24 hr daily did not significantly alter mating rates from those females in contact with males for only 5 hr per day. A heritability value of 0.690 ± 0.283 was calculated for multiple mating behavior in female Q. integer using a parent-offspring regression approach. Parental females mated between land 30 times (x 9.8, S . D. = 6. 6 ) and offspring matings ranged from 0 to 26 times (x 7 .3, S.D. = 3.4). Multiple mating is probably a sexually selected trait which functions as a mechanism of female choice and increases reproductive success through increased offspring production. Classical theory suggests that traits intimately related with fitness should exhibit negligible heritable variation. However, this study has shown that multiple mating, a trait closely linked with reproductive fitness, exhibits substantial heritability. These results are in concordance with a growing body of empirical evidence suggesting many fitness traits in natural populations demonstrate heritabilities far removed from zero. Various mechanisms which may maintain heritable variation for female multiple mating in wild, outbred Q. integer populations are discussed.