Autotomy-induced life history plasticity in band-legged ground cricket Dianemobius nigrofasciatus


Nobuhiro Matsuoka, Department of Biological Science, Graduate School of Science, Osaka Prefecture University, 1-1 Gakuen-cho, Naka-ku, Sakai, Osaka 599-8531, Japan. Email:


Crickets can autotomize their limbs when attacked by predators. This enables them to escape death, but imposes a short-term cost on their escape speed and a long-term cost on their future mating ability. Therefore, adaptive response compensated for the cost of autotomy might be advantageous for autotomized individuals. In the present study, we examined whether autotomy induced life history plasticities compensating for the future cost in the band-legged ground cricket Dianemobius nigrofasciatus. Life history traits of D. nigrofasciatus were compared between autotomized and intact individuals. The developmental time and head width of the individuals that were autotomized as fourth instar nymphs were significantly shorter and smaller, respectively, than those of intact individuals. However, the adult longevity, number of eggs laid and oviposition schedule did not vary between autotomized and intact individuals. In addition, there was no difference between individuals autotomized at the fourth instar and adult stages in these three traits. Early maturation in the autotomized individuals might be advantageous through reducing the risk of predation owing to the shorter period in nymphal stages. The cost of small body size in the autotomized females might not be so great because of no significant difference in fecundity between autotomized and intact individuals. However, the cost of small body size was unclear in the autotomized males because in general larger males were preferred by females. These results indicated autotomy-induced life history that might reduce the cost of autotomy.