Acoustic Experience Interacts with Perceived Risk of Predation in Shaping Female Response in Crickets

Narmin S. Ghalichi, Justa L. Heinen-Kay, Marlene Zuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Female response to male sexual signals is context dependent and influenced by a variety of environmental factors. For instance, females often adjust mating preferences in response to predation risk. Social experiences as a juvenile, such as exposure to conspecific sexual signals, have also been shown to influence female mating preferences as adults. Experiments that examine the influence of both environmental factors and early social experiences on female preferences are needed to understand female mating behaviors in the wild. In Pacific field crickets (Teleogryllus oceanicus), males produce a calling song that females evaluate during mate choice. We examined the influence of both risk perception and juvenile exposure to calling song in shaping adult T. oceanicus female phonotaxis to either a high- or low-quality calling song. We predicted that females raised in song-less conditions would be more responsive to calling song to maximize mating opportunities, and that females would show reduced response to calling in a risky, open area. Females raised in a song-deprived environment were much more responsive to calling song compared to those reared with song. In contrast to our predictions, females raised in song-less conditions were more responsive to the high-quality song in the risky, open arena. These results suggest that juvenile acoustic rearing influences female responsiveness to male calling song, but it has less influence on strength of preference for signal quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-47
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Insect Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We wish to thank Daina Strub, Kristine Grab, Mounica Kota, and Adam Hartman for their help in maintaining cricket colonies and aiding in the experiments. Dr. David Stephens and Dr. Emilie Snell-Rood provided insightful comments that improved the paper.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Sexual selection
  • Teleogryllus oceanicus
  • female preference
  • predation


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