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Jamaican Field Cricket Mate Attraction Signals Provide Age Cues

Authors


Susan M. Bertram, Department of Biology, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, ON, Canada.
E-mail: sue_bertram@carleton.ca

Abstract

Older males often have a mating advantage, either resulting from the fact that they live longer or resulting from the fact that they both live longer and signal this to females. Male field crickets signal acoustically to attract potential mates. Some field cricket mating signals provide cues about male age while others do not. We explored whether male Jamaican field crickets, Gryllus assimilis, mating signals change with age. Our results show that older males produce chirps with longer pulses, more pulses, at higher pulse and chirp rates, and their chirps are both longer and louder than those produced by younger males. Our findings suggest that Jamaican field cricket mating signals provide cues about male age, explaining between 10% and 54% of the variation in signaling traits. Females might be able to use these mating signal differences to distinguish between older and younger mates.

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