Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 58, Issue 1, pp 1–8 | Cite as

Fighting success and attractiveness as predictors of male mating success in the black field cricket, Teleogryllus commodus: the effectiveness of no-choice tests

  • Michelle A. Shackleton
  • Michael D. Jennions
  • John Hunt
Original Article


Females are generally assumed to prefer larger, more dominant males. However, a growing number of studies that control for male-male competition have shown no correlation between dominance and attractiveness. Aggressive males can interfere with female mate preference either by physically coercing females into mating or by driving submissive males away and restricting mate choice. The most common method of assessing female mate choice is by using simultaneous two-choice tests. These control for male-male interactions, but usually interfere with physical and chemical cues involved in mate selection or alter male behaviour. They are therefore unsuitable for many study species, especially insects. Another method is the no-choice test that measures a female’s latency to mating when placed with a single male as an indication of male attractiveness. No-choice tests control for male-male aggression while allowing full contact between pairs (they allow actual mating to be directly observed rather than to occur based on a correlated behaviour). So far, however, no study has confirmed that males that entice females to mate sooner actually enjoy increased longer-term mating success. As such, the accuracy of no-choice tests as a method of examining mate choice remains untested. Here, we used no-choice tests on the black field cricket, Teleogryllus commodus, to show that (1) females did not prefer males that won fights (“dominant” males), and (2) latency to mating predicts actual mating success. We have clearly demonstrated the usefulness of no-choice tests and, considering the advantages of this method, they should be more often considered for a wider variety of taxa.


Mate choice Male fighting ability No-choice tests Sexual selection Teleogryllus commodus 



All procedures used in this study comply with the national laws and regulations of Australia. We thank Janine Inggs, Russell Graham and Pat Backwell for their assistance and Australian Research Council for funding.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michelle A. Shackleton
    • 1
  • Michael D. Jennions
    • 1
  • John Hunt
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Botany and ZoologyThe Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.School of Biological Earth and Environmental SciencesThe University of New South WalesSydneyAustralia

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