No Coolidge Effect in Decorated Crickets

Authors


Susan N. Gershman, School of Biological Sciences, Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790-4120, USA. E-mail: sgershm@ilstu.edu

Abstract

Female decorated crickets, Gryllodes sigillatus, obtain genetic benefits by mating with different males and, when given a choice, prefer novel males over previous mates. It is unknown, however, whether males exhibit a similar preference for novel females. Although female crickets control copulation, there are at least two ways in which males can exercise choice: (1) the amount of courtship directed towards prospective mates and (2) the size of the spermatophore transferred to the female at mating. To determine whether males devote more courtship effort to novel females while controlling for female behavioral cues, male courtship effort toward two dead females, one, a previous mate and the other, a novel female, was measured. To determine whether males manufacture larger spermatophores when paired with novel females, males were mated to novel or previous mates, and the different components of the spermatophore weighed. Males did not spend more time courting dead novel females than previous mates. There was no difference in the latency to remating of males confined with novel females and those paired with previous mates, and there was no difference in the mass of spermatophores transferred to novel and familiar females. Contrary to previous studies in other taxa, this study suggests that male crickets do not prefer novel mates and thus, are not subject to the Coolidge effect. Although mating with novel females may be beneficial to males, selection on males to identify and discriminate against previous mates may be relaxed because of a strong female preference for novel males.

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