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Condition dependence of a multicomponent sexual signal in the field cricket Gryllus campestris


Condition dependence of a multicomponent sexual signal in the field cricket Gryllus campestris



Animal Behaviour il; 65(4): 721-727



DOI: 10.1006/anbe.2003.2083

In choosing a breeding partner, females in many animal species select between available males on the basis of several signalling traits. Some theoretical models of signalling evolution predict that multiple ornaments convey specific information on different aspects of male quality, such as current nutritional condition. We investigated the effect of nutrition on the calling song of male field crickets Gryllus campestris. This song is a multicomponent sexually selected signal. Adult males were kept on one of three feeding regimes, which resulted in significant differences in body condition between experimental groups. We found significant increases in calling rate and chirp rate and a significant decrease in interchirp duration with increasing food level. Other song characters, such as chirp duration, syllable number, chirp intensity and carrier frequency, were not affected by the food treatment. Furthermore, carrier frequency was correlated with harp area, which is an index of structural size in adult males. The calling song of the field cricket may thus serve as a multicomponent sexual signal, which contains discrete information on past growth and juvenile development as well as present nutritional condition.

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Accession: 003690816

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