Male responses to conspecific advertisement signals in the field cricket Gryllus rubens (Orthoptera: Gryllidae)

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In many species males aggregate and produce long-range advertisement signals to attract conspecific females. The majority of the receivers of these signals are probably other males most of the time, and male responses to competitors' signals can structure the spatial and temporal organization of the breeding aggregation and affect male mating tactics. I quantified male responses to a conspecific advertisement stimulus repeatedly over three age classes in Gryllus rubens (Orthoptera: Gryllidae) in order to estimate the type and frequency of male responses to the broadcast stimulus and to determine the factors affecting them. Factors tested included body size, wing dimorphism, age, and intensity of the broadcast stimulus. Overall, males employed acoustic response more often than positive phonotactic response. As males aged, the frequency of positive phonotactic response decreased but that of the acoustic response increased. That is, males may use positive phonotaxis in the early stages of their adult lives, possibly to find suitable calling sites or parasitize calling males, and then later in life switch to acoustic responses in response to conspecific advertisement signals. Males with smaller body size more frequently exhibited acoustic responses. This study suggests that individual variation, more than any factors measured, is critical for age-dependent male responses to conspecific advertisement signals.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere16063
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2011


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