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Keywords:

  • Age-dependent reproductive effort;
  • crickets;
  • longevity;
  • quantitative genetics;
  • senescence

Recent work suggests that sexual selection can influence the evolution of ageing and lifespan by shaping the optimal timing and relative costliness of reproductive effort in the sexes. We used inbred lines of the decorated cricket, Gryllodes sigillatus, to estimate the genetic (co)variance between age-dependent reproductive effort, lifespan, and ageing within and between the sexes. Sexual selection theory predicts that males should die sooner and age more rapidly than females. However, a reversal of this pattern may be favored if reproductive effort increases with age in males but not in females. We found that male calling effort increased with age, whereas female fecundity decreased, and that males lived longer and aged more slowly than females. These divergent life-history strategies were underpinned by a positive genetic correlation between early-life reproductive effort and ageing rate in both sexes, although this relationship was stronger in females. Despite these sex differences in life-history schedules, age-dependent reproductive effort, lifespan, and ageing exhibited strong positive intersexual genetic correlations. This should, in theory, constrain the independent evolution of these traits in the sexes and may promote intralocus sexual conflict. Our study highlights the importance of sexual selection to the evolution of sex differences in ageing and lifespan in G. sigillatus.