• Individual differences and factors affecting male behaviour in field crickets

      Wyatt, David Ross.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1981-07-09)
      Individual differences in male sexual behav~our and the factors influencing calling behaviour were studied in the field crickets Gryllus 2 integer and Q. veletis. In a large (13m) outdoor arena individually numbered adult male ~~ integer started calling at three to five days of age but thereafter the age of individual G. integer males did not affect nightly calling duration. Calling also did not correlate with individual weight. In this study individual male calling was continuously distributed from 0 hrs. per night to 3.5 hrs. per night, on average. A temporal effect on the number of G. integer males calling was observed. The number of males calling through the night was uniform, but a sharp increase in the number calling was observed in the early morning. No difference in calling times was observed between the night and dawn callers. AlsC)' males calling at dawn usually didnotc'all during the preceeding night. Calling and reproductive success in 1979 demonstrated a negative logarithmic relationship while in the 1980(initial) population a negative linear relationship was observed. No relationship was seen in the 1980 high density population. The ratio of non-callers to callers also affected the mating of individuals in the 1979 and1980(initial) densities:-non~callers (males calling .5 hrs. per night, on average, or less) obtained more females when the population contained a high number of callers, this being a negative logarithmic relationship to, No such relationship was observed in the 1980 high density population. Individual displacement varied nightly and was not correlated to amount of calling or reproductive success of individual G. integer males. G. integer males were displa~ed more when in a higher density in the outdoor arena Male G. integer and G. veletis behaviours were also observed in an indoor arena at different densities and, in G. veletis, with respect to female presence. When females were present in the arena, in G. veletis, male calling was reduced. Males of both species called less, on average, when in ~ higher density, than when they were in a lower density. Male displacement of both species increased on average when in a higher density as compared to displacement in a lower density. Aggression was measured by aggressive call-ing and fighting and was studied in regards to density.G. integer demonstrated less aggression in all but one comparison at higher density. No difference was observed in the ratio of aggressive calling to f.ighting comparison in G. integer. G. veletis demonstrated mixed results. No difference in aggression between densities was observed in comparisons. Less.aggression did occur in higher densities when comparisons invol.ved fighting behaviour. Male behaviour represents a competitive strategy against ot~er males, strategy being defined as a genetic (in part) alternative to other strategies. In this sense, the factors of time, density, male-male aggression, and female presence are conditions demonstrated to affect male behaviour in G. integer and G. veletis. Individual male differences and other considerations suggest that alternative male behaviours are represented by at least two conditional strategies. This possibility, and the transient 'or stable nature of genetic polymorphisms in field cricket behaviour are considered.
    • Mating behaviours of the field cricket (Gryllus integer) at different levels of male density

      Graham, Katherine Diane.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1982-07-09)
      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.