Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 25, Issue 5, pp 467–477 | Cite as

Divergent Preferences for Song Structure between a Field Cricket and its Phonotactic Parasitoid

  • Oliver M. BeckersEmail author
  • William E. WagnerJr.


In many animals, males produce signals to attract females for mating. However, eavesdropping parasites may exploit these conspicuous signals to find their hosts. In these instances, the strength and direction of natural and sexual selection substantially influence song evolution. Male variable field crickets, Gryllus lineaticeps, produce chirped songs to attract mates. The eavesdropping parasitoid fly Ormia ochracea uses cricket songs to find its hosts. We tested female preferences for song structure (i.e., chirped song vs. trilled song) in crickets and flies using choice experiments. Female crickets from a parasitized and a non-parasitized population significantly preferred the species-typical chirped song, whereas flies significantly preferred a trilled song, which is expressed by other hosts in different regions. Sexual selection due to female choice and natural selection due to fly predation both appear to favor the chirped song structure of G. lineaticeps in the parasitized population, whereas sexual selection favors the chirped structure in the non-parasitized population.


Parasitism animal communication sexual selection natural selection Gryllus lineaticeps Ormia ochracea 



We thank L. Sullivan-Beckers, A. Basolo, and E. A. Hebets and two anonymous referees for their helpful criticism and editing of the manuscript. This research was supported by the National Science Foundation (IOS 0818116).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of NebraskaLincolnUSA
  2. 2.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of NebraskaLincolnUSA

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