• Aging;
  • diet;
  • life-history;
  • whole-organism performance

Evolutionary theories of aging state that the force of natural selection declines with age, resulting in trait senescence. However, sexual selection theory predicts that costly traits that signal mate value should increase in expression as survival prospects decline. Mortality rates and fertility tend to show strong signatures of senescence, whereas sexual signaling traits increase with age, but how the expression of traits such as whole-organism performance measures that are subject to both sexual and nonsexual selection should change with age is unclear. We examined the effects of both a key life-history event (mating) and diet quality (male and female optimal diets) on aging in two whole-organism performance traits (bite force and jump take-off velocity) in male and female Teleogryllus commodus crickets. We found no evidence for diet effects on any of the measured traits. Aging effects were more evident in females than in males for both jumping and biting, and constitute a mix of senescence and terminal investment patterns depending on sex/mating class. Sex and mating therefore have important implications for resource allocation to performance traits, and hence for aging of those traits, and interactions between these two factors can result in complex changes in trait expression over individual lifetimes.