• 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.
    • 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.
    • Sperm utilization patterns in Gryllus integer (orthoptera: gryllidae

      Backus, Vickie Lynn.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1984-07-09)
      Sperm competition is the competition for fertilizations between ejaculates, within a female, following multiple mating. There are four sperm utilization or precedence patterns: first male precedence, where the first male to mate fertilizes most of the eggs laid by a female; last male precedence, where the last male to mate fertilizes most of the eggs laid by a female; "all-or-none" pattern, where sperm from either male fertilizes all the eggs laid by a female but which male's sperm that is used is random; or sperm mixing, where sperm from each male is used equally in fertilizing eggs laid by a female. Intermediate utilization patterns are also possible. Sperm competition occurs in a wide variety of insect species as well as other animals. This study was undertaken to study sperm competition in the field cricket, Gryllus integer. Four experiments were conducted: a radiation and sterilization experiment, a diapause experiment, and 2 competition experiments. It was found that 7,000 rad of gamma radiation sterilized adult ~ integer males. There was no diapause in the laboratory in ~ integer eggs. In the first competition experiment, three groups of females were used: females mated with a normal male, then with a second normal male (NN group); females mated with a normal male, and then with a sterile male (NR group); and females mated with a sterile male, and then with a normal male (RN group). The results obtained from this experiment showed that the mean proportion of eggs hatched was significantly different between 3 groups of females, with the proportion hatched much greater in the NN group than in either the NR or RN groups. The pattern for the proportion of eggs hatched following a double mating most closely resembled a pattern expected if sperm mixing is occurring. Results obtained in the replicate competition experiment showed that the mean proportion of eggs hatched for the females in the NR group was significantly lower than the proportion hatched in the other two groups. This also supports a model of sperm mixing as a precedence pattern. Values calculated following Boorman and Parker (1976), for the proportion of eggs fertilized by the second male to mate following a double mating, were 0.57 in competition experiment 1 and 0.62 in the replicate. These values indicate that sperm mixing occurs in~ integer.