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How age influences phonotaxis in virgin female Jamaican field crickets (Gryllus assimilis)

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Author(s): Karen Pacheco | Jeff W. Dawson | Michael Jutting | Susan M. Bertram

Journal: PeerJ
ISSN 2167-8359

Volume: 1;
Start page: e130;
Date: 2013;
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Keywords: Trackball | Kramer spherical treadmill | Locomotion compensator | Phonotaxis | Female preference | Age | Gryllus assimilis | Teleogryllus

ABSTRACT
Female mating preference can be a dominant force shaping the evolution of sexual signals. However, females rarely have consistent mating preferences throughout their lives. Preference flexibility results from complex interactions of predation risk, social and sexual experience, and age. Because residual reproductive value should theoretically decline with age, older females should not be as choosy as younger females. We explored how age influences phonotaxis towards a standard mate attraction signal using a spherical treadmill (trackball) and a no-choice experimental protocol. Female Jamaican field crickets, Gryllus assimilis, were highly variable in their phonotaxis; age explained up to 64% of this variation. Females 10 days post imaginal eclosion and older oriented toward the mate attraction signal, with 10- and 13-day females exhibiting the greatest movement in the direction of the signal. Our study suggests 10- and 13-day old females would be most responsive when quantifying the preference landscape for G. assimilis sexual signals.

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