Rhythmic male reproductive behavior controls timing of courtship and mating in Laupala cerasina
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In many organisms, mating behavior occurs at a particular time of day, which may be important for avoiding mate competition or interspecific mating. Crickets of the Hawaiian genus Laupala exhibit an unusually protracted courtship in which males produce a series of nuptial gifts prior to the species-typical time of mating. Mating time is one of several rhythmic behaviors that have diverged among closely related Laupala species, which exhibit an extremely high speciation rate. Mating rhythm may reflect direct selection on male and/or female sexual receptivity or the pleiotropic consequence of selection on other rhythmic behaviors. To examine the role of sexual rhythmicity in Laupala cerasina, we characterized the time boundaries or “circadian gate” of courtship and mating, as well as female phonotactic response to male song. We also examined which sex is responsible for mating rhythmicity by phase-shifting males relative to the female photophase. Our results demonstrate that mating behavior is gated by the end of the light phase. Time limits to female mating receptivity were not observed and thus male rhythm alone appears to be responsible for the timing of mating. Furthermore, when courtship is initiated later in the day, males produce fewer nuptial gifts and increase nuptial gift production rate while delaying mating, suggesting that the number of gifts a female receives is important to male reproductive success.
KeywordsLaupala Mating behavior Reproductive isolation Nuptial gift Circadian rhythm Courtship
We thank Kevin Oh for the statistical consultation, and Brian Coyle and Daniel Gorelick for their helpful comments on the manuscript.
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