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Male behaviour over the season in a wild population of the field cricket Gryllus campestris L

Male behaviour over the season in a wild population of the field cricket Gryllus campestris L

Ecological entomology 32(4): 384-392

ISSN/ISBN: 0307-6946

DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2311.2007.00887.x

1. Cricket model systems have greatly enhanced our knowledge about mate choice and sexual selection. However, no studies exist that take seasonal dynamics into account and that follow individual males over the complete adult stage in the wild. In the present study, all adult field crickets (Gryllus campestris L.) were individually marked and measured in a population in central Germany and their behaviour was followed over their life from May to July 2000. 2. The population reached a maximum of 108 males within 10 days and continuously declined thereafter. Daily mortality was positively correlated with burrow-changing activity, which was highest at high mean temperatures. Median burrow occupation time was short at 1 day but males stayed up to 34 days in one burrow. Heavy males stayed longer in burrows and achieved a higher age. 3. Male displacement was on average 2.8 m per day and up to 284 m during their life. Displacement and lifespan were negatively correlated. 4. Burrows were highly aggregated at the meadow in areas of vegetation cover <85%. Aggregation of males increased with advancing season and declining population size. Consequently, nearest-neighbour distances remained stable at 5 m until the 50th day of the study. 5. About half of the 159 detected matings occurred 4-6 h after sunrise. An increased mating frequency was observed between the 30th and 50th day after adult moult.

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Accession: 016311243

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