Diel variation in a dynamic sexual display and its association with female mate-searching behaviour

Jacot, Alain; Scheuber, Hannes; Holzer, Barbara; Otti, Oliver; Brinkhof, Martin W G (2008). Diel variation in a dynamic sexual display and its association with female mate-searching behaviour. Proceedings of the Royal Society. Series B - biological sciences, 275(1634), pp. 579-85. London: Royal Society of London 10.1098/rspb.2007.1500

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Dynamic sexual signals often show a diel rhythm and may vary substantially with time of day. Diel and short-term fluctuations in such sexual signals pose a puzzle for condition capture models of mate choice, which assume a female preference for male traits that reliably reflect a male's quality. Here we experimentally manipulated the food supply of individual male field crickets Gryllus campestris in their natural habitat in two consecutive seasons to determine (i) the effect of male nutritional condition on the fine-scaled variation of diel investment in acoustic signalling and (ii) the temporal association between the diel variation in male signalling and female mate-searching behaviour. Overall food-supplemented males signalled more often, but the effect was only visible during the daytime. In the evening and the night, signal output was still high but the time spent signalling was unrelated to a male's nutritional condition. Females' mate-searching behaviour also showed a diel rhythm with peak activity during the afternoon, when differences among calling males were highest, and where signal output reliably reflects male quality. These findings suggest that males differing in nutritional condition may optimize their investment in signalling in relation to time of day as to maximize mating success.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)

UniBE Contributor:

Brinkhof, Martin






Royal Society of London




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 15:04

Last Modified:

11 Jun 2015 11:02

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https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/27758 (FactScience: 111434)

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