Journal of Ethology

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 435–441 | Cite as

Sexually dimorphic male horns and their use in agonistic behaviors in the horn-headed cricket Loxoblemmus doenitzi (Orthoptera: Gryllidae)

  • Hokyung Kim
  • Yikweon JangEmail author
  • Jae C. ChoeEmail author


Sexual dimorphism, the difference between the sexes in secondary sexual characters, is in general driven by processes of sexual selection. The horn-headed cricket, Loxoblemmus doenitzi, exhibits sexual dimorphism in head shape. Males have flat heads and triangular horns on both sides of their heads, whereas females have rounded heads and no horns. We hypothesized that male horns have evolved due to intra-sexual selection, in which males use these horns as weapons in aggressive interactions. We tested two predictions of this hypothesis by conducting agonistic trials with field-caught males of L. doenitzi: (1) the horns should be used in agonistic interactions between males, and (2) the asymmetry in horn size or horn use may determine contest outcome. Horn length was significantly correlated with thorax length and hind femur length. During agonistic interactions, males aggressively used their horns by beating the opponent’s horns with their own or by poking the opponent’s body. However, logistic regression analysis revealed that neither horn length nor horn use were significant factors for contest outcome. Instead, body size was significant for determining contest outcome. We discuss possible scenarios for evolution of male horns in L. doenitzi.


Loxoblemmus doenitzi Sexual dimorphism Secondary sexual character Agonistic behavior Calling song character 



We are grateful to Jaeha Ahn for cricket rearing and video analyses. This work was supported financially by a Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (2010-0003613) to Y.J. The experiments in this study comply with the current law of Republic of Korea.


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Copyright information

© Japan Ethological Society and Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of EcoScienceEwha UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea

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