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The intensity of pre- and post-copulatory mate guarding in relation to spermatophore transfer in the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus

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Abstract

While post-copulatory mate guarding has been well documented in field crickets (Orthoptera: Gryllidae), the occurrence of pre-copulatory mate guarding in this family has been largely overlooked. We examined the relationship between the intensity of two components of mate guarding (body judders and antennal whips) and the time before and after copulation. We found that when male Gryllus bimaculatus encounter a female but do not have a spermatophore ready to transfer, they engage in pre-copulatory mate guarding that is very similar to post-copulatory mate guarding. The intensity of pre-copulatory mate guarding increased up to the point at which the male was ready to transfer his spermatophore. Following copulation, the intensity of mate guarding initially remained high before declining, after which it began to increase again just before the male resumed courtship stridulation. We interpret this pattern of post-copulatory mate guarding as being consistent with both the ejaculate-protection and spermatophore-renewal hypotheses for the function of mate guarding. We found no significant relationship between mate guarding intensity and male body mass.

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Acknowledgment

We are grateful to P. Bateman and two anonymous referees for comments on the manuscript and to Jane Barker for maintaining the cricket stocks.

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Correspondence to Darren J. Parker.

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Parker, D.J., Vahed, K. The intensity of pre- and post-copulatory mate guarding in relation to spermatophore transfer in the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus . J Ethol 28, 245–249 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10164-009-0176-6

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