Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 96-103

First online:

Longer Antennae for Romeo: Assessing Effect of Antennae Length on Courtship and Mating Success in Male Crickets, Acheta domesticus (Orthoptera, Gryllidae)

  • Kapil Kishor KhadkaAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, Adelphi University Email author 
  • , Joshua ShekAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, Adelphi University
  • , Justine HoffmanAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, Adelphi University
  • , Ryan VulinAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, Adelphi University
  • , Matthias FoellmerAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, Adelphi University

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Animals use a variety of chemosensory functions to coordinate behavioral actions, such as sexual recognition and courtship. In particular, many insects use antennae as a vital chemosensory organ to transmit and receive sexual signals that are believed to be crucial in mate recognition and mating in various species of insects. Crickets provide a usable model to test the significance of antennae in insects. The general importance of antennae in male crickets to initiate courtship, ensure copulation, and post-copulatory mate guarding has been documented in studies that performed full antennectomy. Our study is the first to perform partial antennectomy to test the hypothesis that even partial loss due to injury has negative effects on sexual behaviors. We found that partially antennectomized males are not slower than control males in mate recognition and courtship initiation. However, we found that partially antennectomized males take longer to achieve copulation than control males with normal uncut antennae. Our results suggest that male crickets require long, undamaged antennae to efficiently engage in mating behavior and may already incur fitness costs when they lose half of their antennae.


Antennation mate choice copulation antennal loss effect size