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Abstract

Sexual selection theory suggests males in good condition should be more successful than males in poor condition when competing with rivals for territories and mates. Understanding how condition influences the interplay between aggression, mate attraction, and courtship displays could help explain why variation is maintained in traits that confer fitness. Using laboratory-reared Jamaican field crickets, Gryllus assimilis, we found that fine-scale temporal components of mate attraction signals were positively correlated with body condition (residual body mass) and body size; signaling effort was positively correlated with both body condition and fine-scale temporal signaling components; aggression was positively correlated with signaling effort; number of eggs laid was positively correlated with female body size, male body condition and aggression. Together our correlative study suggests that variation in body condition and size may drive some of the variation in cricket mate attraction signaling and aggression. Given condition and body size are influenced by foraging ability, nutrient availability and the organism’s ability to uptake and retain these essential nutrients could explain some of the persistent variation in fitness conferring traits.