Papers in the Biological Sciences


Date of this Version



Animal Behaviour 84 (2012), pp. 1457–1462. doi: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2012.09.016


Copyright 2012, the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour and Elsevier BV. Used by permission.


Males of many species produce conspicuous mating signals to attract females, but these signals can also attract eavesdropping predators and parasites. Males are thus expected to evolve signaling behaviors that balance the sexual selection benefits and the natural selection costs. In the variable field cricket, Gryllus lineaticeps, males sing to attract females, but these songs also attract the lethal parasitoid fly Ormia ochracea. The flies use male crickets as hosts for their larvae, primarily search for hosts during a 2 h period following sunset and prefer the same song types as female crickets. We tested whether males from high-risk populations reduce the risk of parasitism by singing less frequently or by shifting their singing activity to a time of the night when the risk of parasitism is low. We compared male singing activity and its temporal pattern between six high-risk and six low-risk populations that were reared in a common environment. There was no effect of parasitism risk on either total male singing activity or the temporal pattern of male singing activity. Males from high-risk populations thus sang as frequently as males from low-risk populations. These results suggest that sexual selection on male singing behavior may be substantially stronger in high-risk populations than in low-risk populations. It is possible that other traits may have evolved to reduce parasitism risk without compromising mate attraction.

Includes Supplementary Materials.