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Keywords:

  • Acoustic signal traits;
  • Chorthippus biguttulus ;
  • condition dependence;
  • food plant quality

Abstract

In many animal species, male acoustic signals serve to attract a mate and therefore often play a major role for male mating success. Male body condition is likely to be correlated with male acoustic signal traits, which signal male quality and provide choosy females indirect benefits. Environmental factors such as food quantity or quality can influence male body condition and therefore possibly lead to condition-dependent changes in the attractiveness of acoustic signals. Here, we test whether stressing food plants influences acoustic signal traits of males via condition-dependent expression of these traits. We examined four male song characteristics, which are vital for mate choice in females of the grasshopper Chorthippus biguttulus. Only one of the examined acoustic traits, loudness, was significantly altered by changing body condition because of drought- and moisture-related stress of food plants. No condition dependence could be observed for syllable to pause ratio, gap duration within syllables, and onset accentuation. We suggest that food plant stress and therefore food plant quality led to shifts in loudness of male grasshopper songs via body condition changes. The other three examined acoustic traits of males do not reflect male body condition induced by food plant quality.