Give ‘til it hurts: trade-offs between immunity and male reproductive effort in the decorated cricket, Gryllodes sigillatus


Susan N. Gershman, Behavior, Ecology, Evolution and Systematics Section, School of Biological Sciences, Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790-4120, USA.
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Trade-offs between life-history variables can be manifested at either the phenotypic or genetic level, with vastly different evolutionary consequences. Here, we examined whether male decorated crickets (Gryllodes sigillatus) from eight inbred lines and the outbred founder population from which they were derived, trade-off immune effort [lytic activity, phenoloxidase (PO) activity or encapsulation] to produce spermatophylaxes: costly nuptial food gifts essential for successful sperm transfer. Canonical correlation analysis of the outbred population revealed a trade-off between spermatophylax mass and lytic activity. Analysis of our inbred lines, however, revealed that although PO activity, encapsulation, body mass, spermatophylax mass and ampulla (sperm capsule) mass were all highly heritable, lytic activity was not, and there was, therefore, no negative genetic correlation between lytic activity and spermatophylax mass. Thus, males showed a phenotypic but not a genetic trade-off between spermatophylax mass and lytic activity, suggesting that this trade-off is mediated largely by environmental factors.