Species recognition and intraspecific mating preferences constitute two basic aspects of animal communication. Both can be considered as variations in response to signals and it has been suggested that they represent a continuum. Selection on species recognition could therefore influence intraspecific mating preferences. We show that females of the common European grasshopper Chorthippus biguttulus prefer conspecific male signals that can be distinguished more reliably from sympatrically occurring heterospecific signals. This suggests that in C. biguttulus, sexual selection might be influenced by pleiotropic effects from species recognition. The results show how the heterospecific signal environment could have determined why and in which direction specific traits become sexually selected.