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Sexual signal loss, pleiotropy, and maintenance of a male reproductive polymorphism in crickets

Citation

Heinen-Kay, Justa; Nichols, Rachel; Zuk, Marlene (2020), Sexual signal loss, pleiotropy, and maintenance of a male reproductive polymorphism in crickets, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.q2bvq83fz

Abstract

Pleiotropy between male signals and female preferences can facilitate evolution of sexual communication by maintaining coordination between the sexes. Alternatively, it can favor variation in the mating system, such as a reproductive polymorphism. It is unknown how common either of these scenarios are in nature. In Pacific field crickets (Teleogryllus oceanicus) on Kauai, Hawaii, a mutation (flatwing) that segregates as a single locus is responsible for the rapid loss of song production in males. We used outbred cricket colonies fixed for male wing morph to investigate whether homozygous flatwing and normal-wing (wild-type) females differ in responsiveness to male calling song and propensity to mate when paired with either a flatwing or normal-wing male in the presence or absence of courtship song. Flatwing females were less likely to mount a male than normal-wing females. Females of both genotypes showed a preference for normal-wing males and were more likely to mate in the presence of courtship song; normal-wing females were particularly likely to mate with song. Our results show that negative pleiotropy between obligate male silence and female mating behavior can constrain the evolution of sexual signal loss and contribute to the maintenance of a male reproductive polymorphism in the wild. 

Methods

These data were collected using behavioral phonotaxis and no-choice mating trials with Teleogryllus oceanicus crickets in the laboratory.