Function of the Hemolymph Nuptial Gift in the Ground Cricket, Allonemobius socius



Nicholas DiRienzo, Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior, University of California Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA.



Nuptial feeding, although common in the insect world, varies greatly in its form and function. Here, we test the function of the hemolymph nuptial gift in the southern ground cricket, Allonemobius socius, and attempt to determine if it functions as parental investment or mating effort. We manipulated the number of gifts a female received during courtship (one vs. none). We also recorded other aspect of courtship, such as feeding duration and spermatophore attachment duration. Female fecundity was measured for 7 d post-mating. Our results indicate that female egg laying is significantly higher when a gift is provided, but the increase in egg laying is not related to gift size. In addition, the lack of a gift does not affect the male's ability to transfer a spermatophore. Together, these data suggest that the nuptial gift acts as parental investment and not as mating effort.