Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 55–60 | Cite as

The ultimate function of nuptial feeding in the bushcricket Poecilimon veluchianus (Orthoptera : Tettigoniidae : Phaneropterinae)

  • Klaus Reinhold
  • Klaus-Gerhard Heller


During mating the males of the bushcricket Poecilimon veluchianus transfer a large spermatophore of about a quarter of their body weight to the female. Such nuptial feeding is often thought to function as paternal investment by increasing the fitness of the male's offspring. According to an alternative, though not mutually exclusive, hypothesis, the size of the spermatophore is maintained because of its function as a sperm protection device. In this case the cost to the male should be classified as mating effort. To discriminate between these two hypotheses we measured the duration of sperm transfer into the female spermatheca and the time taken for spermatophore consumption. A comparison of durations revealed that spermatophore consumption interferes with the process of sperm transfer (Fig. 4). There was no significant effect of spermatophore consumption on number of eggs laid, weight of eggs or absolute weight of hatched larvae. The relative dry weight of hatched larvae, however, was increased as a result of spermatophore consumption (Table 1). Thus spermatophylax size is adjusted in accordance with a sperm protection function and the spermatophylax therefore represents mating effort. The increase in relative dry weight indicates that there may also be a paternal investment effect of the spermatophylax, if the offspring that benefit from spermatophylax materials are fathered by the donating male.


Body Weight Protection Function Protection Device Mating Effort Absolute Weight 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Klaus Reinhold
    • 1
  • Klaus-Gerhard Heller
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Zoology IIUniversity of Erlangen-NürnbergErlangenGermany

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