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Courtship and copulation, but not ejaculates, reduce the longevity of female field crickets (Gryllus bimaculatus)


Philip W. Bateman, Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, Republic of South Africa.


Females of many taxa incur fitness costs from male sexual coercion and harassment leading to mating. Although male crickets cannot force copulations on females, female Gryllus bimaculatus in this study incurred significant reductions in longevity through being exposed to different levels of male courtship. Virgin females kept in isolation had the longest life spans. Reductions in longevity applied to females in sensory contact with males (without the opportunity to mate), females that courted and mated and females that mated but with fertilization being prevented. Females also incurred significant reductions in longevity when kept with other females, which may have been due to high levels of cannibalism. Consistent with previous studies, females appeared to incur no cost to longevity from receiving sperm or seminal fluid. It is known that female G. bimaculatus benefit genetically from multiple mating. However, this benefit could possibly be offset by the negative effect that male courtship and mating behaviour has on female longevity.

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