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The mosaic distribution pattern of two sister bush-cricket species and the possible role of reproductive interference

Cite this dataset

Kanuch, Peter; Dorkova, Martina; Jarcuska, Benjamin; Kristin, Anton (2021). The mosaic distribution pattern of two sister bush-cricket species and the possible role of reproductive interference [Dataset]. Dryad.


Reproductive interference can shape regional distribution patterns in closely related species, if prezygotic isolation barriers are weak. The study of such interaction could be more challenging in nuptial gift-giving species due to the direct nutritional effects on both sexes of both species during copulation. We mapped the distribution of two sister bush-cricket species, Pholidoptera aptera and P. transsylvanica, at the northern margin of their overlapping ranges in Europe and, with a behavioural experiment, we tested the possibility of heterospecific mating. We found a very rare coexistence of species locally (0.5%, n = 391 sites) with mostly mutually exclusive distribution patterns, resulting in a mosaic pattern of sympatry, whereas they occupied the same climate niche in forest-dominated mountain landscape. Over 14 days of a mating experiment with seven mixed groups of conspecifics and heterospecifics (n = 56 individuals in total), the number of received spermatophores per female was 3–6 in P. aptera and 1–7 in P. transsylvanica. In total, we found 8.1% of heterospecific copulations (n = 99 transferred spermatophores with genetic identification of the donor species), while we also confirmed successful the transfer of heterospecific sperms into a female’s reproductive system. Because bush-cricket females also obtain required nutrition from a heterospecific spermatophylax what should increase their fitness and fecundity, we suggest that their flexibility to mate with heterospecifics is beneficial and drives reproductive interference. This may substantially limit the reproductive success of the less frequent species (P. transsylvanica), coupled with eventual detrimental effects from hybridization, and result in the competitive exclusion of that species from their areas of coexistence.


This dataset was collected in the field.

Usage notes

This data file contains geographical coordinates of distribution sites of two study bush-cricket species Pholidoptera aptera and Pholidoptera transsylvanica in Slovakia.


Slovak Scientific Grant Agency VEGA, Award: 2/0097/16

Slovak Scientific Grant Agency VEGA, Award: 2/0076/19