Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 105–121 | Cite as

Sexual selection at varying population densities in male field crickets,Gryllus veletis andG. pennsylvanicus

  • B. Wade French
  • William H. Cade


Male field crickets call and attract females or they silently search for females in the vicinity of calling males. At high population densities, fewer calling sites are available, defense of calling sites is costly, and an increased proportion of matings should result from searching behavior. To test these predictions, individually marked field crickets, Gryllus veletisand G. pennsylvanicus,were observed for 10 h nightly in large outdoor arenas at relatively high and low densities (20∶20 and 5∶5, males and females). Data were gathered on body weight, calling duration, movement, and mating frequency for individual crickets. These observations showed that variance in male mating success was significantly greater at a low density in G. pennsylvanicus,and calling duration correlated with mating success at this density. Direct selection on a trait was estimated as the partial regression coefficient (selection gradient, β′) and the total selection was estimated (direct and indirect selection on correlated traits) as the covariance (standardized intensity of selection, s′) of the trait on the relative mating success. Direct selection favored increased movement at a high density in G. veletis,and direct and total selection favored increased calling duration at a low density in G. pennsylvanicus.Most other comparisons were not statistically significant. The data are discussed in terms of density-dependent fluctuations in sexual selection on correlated male traits.

Key words

Gryllus sexual selection density dependence mating success acoustical signals alternative reproductive behavior searching behavior correlated traits Orthoptera Gryllidae 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alexander, R. D. (1961). Aggressiveness, territoriality, and sexual behavior in field crickets (Orthoptera: Gryllidae).Behaviour 17: 130–223.Google Scholar
  2. Alexander, R. D. (1968). Life cycle origins, speciation, and related phenomena in crickets.Q. Rev. Biol. 43: 1–41.Google Scholar
  3. Alexander, R. D. (1975). Natural selection and specialized chorusing behavior in acoustical insects. In Pimentel, D. (ed.),Insects, Science, and Society, Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  4. Alexander, R. D., and Meral, G. H. (1967). Seasonal and daily chirping cycles in the northern spring and fall field crickets,Gryllus veletis andG. pennsylvanicus.Ohio J. Sci. 67: 200–209.Google Scholar
  5. Arnold, S. J. (1983). Sexual selection: The interface of theory and empiricism. In Bateson, P. G. (ed.),Mate Choice, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, Mass., pp. 67–107.Google Scholar
  6. Arnold, S. J. (1985). Quantitative genetic models of sexual selection.Experientia 41: 1296–1310.Google Scholar
  7. Arnold, S. J., and Wade, M. J. (1984). On the measurement of natural and sexual selection: Theory.Evolution 38: 709–719.Google Scholar
  8. Backus, V. L., and Cade, W. H. (1986). Sperm competition in the field cricketGryllus integer (Orthoptera: Gryllidae).Fla. Entomol. 69: 722–728.Google Scholar
  9. Burk, T. E. (1983). Male aggression and female choice in a field cricket (Teleogryllus oceanicus): The importance of courtship song. In Gwynne, D. T., and Morris, G. K. (eds.),Orthopteran Mating Systems, Westview Press, Boulder, Colo., pp. 97–119.Google Scholar
  10. Cade, W. H. (1975). Acoustically orienting parasitoids: Fly phonotaxis to cricket song.Science 190: 1312–1313.Google Scholar
  11. Cade, W. H. (1979a). The evolution of alternative male reproductive strategies in field crickets. In Blum, M. S., and Blum, N. A. (eds.),Sexual Selection and Reproductive Competition in Insects, Academic Press, New York, pp. 343–378.Google Scholar
  12. Cade, W. H. (1979b). Field cricket dispersal flights measured by crickets landing at lights.Tex. J. Sci 31: 125–130.Google Scholar
  13. Cade, W. H. (1981a). Field cricket spacing, and the phonotaxis of crickets and parasitoid flies to clumped and isolated cricket songs.Z. Tierpsychol. 55: 365–375.Google Scholar
  14. Cade, W. H. (1981b). Alternative male strategies: Genetic differences in crickets.Science 212: 563–564.Google Scholar
  15. Cade, W. H. (1984). Genetic variation underlying sexual behavior and reproduction.Am. Zool. 24: 355–366.Google Scholar
  16. Cade, W. H., and Wyatt, D. R. (1984). Factors affecting calling behaviour in field crickets,Teleogryllus andGryllus (age, weight, density, and parasites).Behaviour 88: 61–75.Google Scholar
  17. Clarke, B. C. (1979). The evolution of genetic diversity.Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B 205: 453–474.Google Scholar
  18. Dixon, K. A., and Cade, W. H. (1986). Some factors influencing male-male aggression in the field cricketGryllus integer (time of day, age, weight, and sexual maturity).Anim. Behav. 34: 340–346.Google Scholar
  19. Endler, J. (1986).Natural Selection in the Wild, Princeton University Press, Princeton, N.J.Google Scholar
  20. Falconer, D. S. (1981).Introduction to Quantitative Genetics, 2nd ed., Longman, New York.Google Scholar
  21. French, B. W. (1986).Male Reproductive Competition in the Field Crickets, Gryllus veletis andG. pennsylvanicus, M.Sc. thesis, Brock University, St. Catharines, Canada.Google Scholar
  22. French, B. W., and Cade, W. H. (1987). The timing of calling, movement, and mating in the field cricketsGryllus veletis, G. pennsylvanicus, andG. integer.Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 21: 157–162.Google Scholar
  23. French, B. W., McGowan, E. J., and Backus, V. L. (1986). Spatial distribution of calling field crickets,Gryllus pennsylvanicus (Bigelow) (Orthoptera: Gryllidae).Fla. Entomol. 69: 255–257.Google Scholar
  24. Grant, V. (1985).The Evolutionary Process, Columbia University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  25. Greenfield, M. D., and Shelly, T. E. (1985). Alternative mating strategies in a desert grasshopper: Evidence of density-dependence.Anim. Behav. 33: 1192–1210.Google Scholar
  26. Gwynne, D. T. (1984). Sexual selection and sexual differences in Mormor crickets (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae,Anabrus simplex).Evolution 38: 1011–1022.Google Scholar
  27. Howard, R. D. (1983). Sexual selection and variation in reproductive success in a long-lived organism.Am. Nat. 122: 301–325.Google Scholar
  28. Koenig, W. D., and Albano, S. S. (1986). On the measurement of sexual selection.Am. Nat. 127: 403–409.Google Scholar
  29. Kojima, K. (1971). Is there a constant fitness value for a given genotype? No!Evolution 25: 281–285.Google Scholar
  30. Lande, R., and Arnold, S. J. (1983). The measurement of selection on correlated characters.Evolution 37: 1210–1226.Google Scholar
  31. Loher, W., and Rence, B. (1978). The mating behavior ofTeleogryllus commodus (Walker) and its central and peripheral control.Z. Tierpsychol. 46: 255–259.Google Scholar
  32. Manly, B. F. J. (1985).The Statistics of Natural Selection on Animal Populations, Chapman & Hall, New York.Google Scholar
  33. McGowan, E. J. (1986).Body Size in the Field Cricket Gryllus integer(Orthoptera: Gryllidae): Heritability and Male Mating Success, M.Sc. thesis, Brock University, St. Catharines, Canada.Google Scholar
  34. Otte, D. (1977). Communication in Orthoptera. In Sebeok, T. A. (ed.),How Animals Communicate, Indiana University Press, Bloomington.Google Scholar
  35. Otte, D., and Joern, A. (1975). Insect territoriality and its evolution: population studies of desert grasshoppers on creosote bushes.J. Anim. Ecol. 44: 29–54.Google Scholar
  36. Price, G. R. (1970). Selection and covariance.Nature 227: 520–521.Google Scholar
  37. Price, T. D. (1984). The evolution of sexual size dimorphism in Darwin's finches.Am. Nat. 123: 500–518.Google Scholar
  38. Sakaluk, S. K. (1986). Sperm competition and the evolution of nuptial feeding behavior in the cricket,Gryllodes supplicans (Walker).Evolution 40: 584–593.Google Scholar
  39. Sakaluk, S. K., and Cade, W. H. (1980). Female mating frequency and progeny production in singly and doubly mated house and field crickets.Can. J. Zool. 58: 404–411.Google Scholar
  40. Searcy, W. A. (1979). Sexual selection and body size in male red-winged blackbirds.Evolution 33:649–661.Google Scholar
  41. Simmons, L. W. (1986a). Female choice in the field cricketGryllus bimaculatus (De Geer).Anim. Behav. 34: 1463–1470.Google Scholar
  42. Simmons, L. W. (1986b). Inter-male competition and mating success in the field cricket,Gryllus bimaculatus (De Geer).Anim. Behav. 34: 567–579.Google Scholar
  43. Simmons, L. W. (1987). Heritability of a male character chosen by females of the field cricket,Gryllus bimaculatus.Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 21: 197–202.Google Scholar
  44. Sutherland, W. J. (1985a). Measures of sexual selection.Oxf. Surv. Evol. Biol. 2: 90–101.Google Scholar
  45. Sutherland, W. J. (1985b). Chance can produce a sex difference in variance in mating success and explain Bateman's data.Anim. Behav. 33: 1349–1352.Google Scholar
  46. Taylor, P. D., and Williams, G. C. (1982). The lek paradox is not resolved.Theoret. Pop. Biol. 22: 392–409.Google Scholar
  47. Thornhill, R. (1976). Sexual selection and nuptial feeding behavior inBittacus apicalis (Insecta: Mecoptera)Am. Nat. 110: 259–548.Google Scholar
  48. Thornhill, R., and Alcock, J. (1983).The Evolution of Insect Mating Systems, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.Google Scholar
  49. Trail, P. W. (1985). The intensity of selection: Intersexual and interspecific comparisons require consistent measures.Am. Nat. 126: 434–439.Google Scholar
  50. Wade, M. J. (1979). Sexual selection and resource-accruing abilities inAnolis garmani.Am. Nat. 114: 742–747.Google Scholar
  51. Wade, M. J., and Arnold, S. J. (1980). The intensity of sexual selection in relation to male sexual behavior, female choice, and sperm precedence.Anim. Behav. 28: 446–461.Google Scholar
  52. Walker, T. J., and Wineriter, S. A. (1981). Marking techniques for recognizing individual insects.Fla. Entomol. 64: 18–29.Google Scholar
  53. Williams, G. C. (1975).Sex and Evolution, Princeton University Press, Princeton, N.J.Google Scholar
  54. Zar, J. H. (1984).Biostatistical Analysis, 2nd ed., Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.Google Scholar
  55. Zuk, M. (1986).Sexual Selection, Mate Choice and Gregarine Parasite Levels in the Field Crickets Gryllus veletis and G. pennsylvanicus, Ph.D. dissertation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Wade French
    • 1
  • William H. Cade
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesBrock UniversitySt. CatharinesCanada

Personalised recommendations