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Decoupling of female phonotaxis and mating propensity in a tree cricket

Modak, S and Brown, WD and Balakrishnan, R (2021) Decoupling of female phonotaxis and mating propensity in a tree cricket. In: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 75 (10).

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00265-021-03084-3


Abstract: In species where males use long-distance acoustic signals for mate attraction, male mating success is typically attributed to condition-dependent male signalling and female mate choice in response to the variation in male signal quality. However, condition-dependent female response to male signals might also affect male mating success, especially in orthopteran insects, where mating pair formation usually depends on a female successfully performing phonotaxis in response to a signalling male. Female motivation to engage in mate search and mating will depend on the associated costs and benefits, which can in turn be influenced by female condition. In this study, we assessed the role of adult female condition, including diet and mating status, in determining female mate search and mating propensity in the polyandrous tree cricket, Oecanthus henryi, where mating involves nuptial feeding of females by males. We also investigated the effect of female diet and mating status on mating behaviour, including female latency to mount males (LM), courtship feeding duration (CFD) and spermatophore attachment duration (SPAD). We found that female mating status is an important determinant of motivation to perform phonotaxis to male calls. We also observed a distinct decoupling of phonotactic and re-mating propensity in mated females. While most O. henryi females re-mated readily within and across nights, the phonotactic propensity of mated females dropped significantly compared to virgins. Female diet, however, did not affect their phonotactic and mating behaviour. Mated females had longer LM and shorter CFD and SPAD, suggesting lower fitness for males when paired with mated females. Significance statement: This study illustrates a condition-dependent decoupling of female mate search and mating behaviour through the longitudinal assessment of reproductive behaviour in Oecanthus henryi females. We establish female mating status as a key determinant of female motivation to perform phonotaxis, interestingly decoupled from the motivation to mate. Tree cricket females typically find mates by locating the calling songs of signalling males (phonotaxis). Our results suggest that the low proportion of phonotactically active females observed in wild O. henryi populations may reflect their mated status. Low proportion of actively searching females in a population could lead to stronger sexual selection pressure on males and consequent emergence of alternative male reproductive strategies. The reduced phonotaxis, increased latency to mount and reduced spermatophore attachment duration in non-virgin females may be due to either male suppression of female responses, indicating sexual conflict, or greater pre- and post-copulatory female choice. © 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Publisher: Springer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Additional Information: The copyright for this article belongs to Springer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2021 10:21
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2021 10:21
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/70369

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