Is it the Song or the Singers? Acoustic and Social Experiences Shape Adult Reproductive Tactics and Condition

Susan L. Balenger, Elizabeth Bastiaans, Marlene Zuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


When sexual signals are perceived during growth and development they can provide information regarding the social conditions likely to be encountered as an adult. Perception of cues related to the presence and density of future mates and potential competitors can result in altered adult phenotypes. Previous studies have shown that adult male Teleogryllus oceanicus field crickets from a Kauai, Hawaii population reared alone and without hearing conspecific song are more phonotactic than those reared with song. These naïve males also reduce investment in body size and immunity. Here we examined whether another source of population density information, the presence of other males, affects behavior, size, and immunity. Specifically, we examined satellite behavior as evidenced by strength of phonotaxis, body condition, and immune response in males reared singly and in groups in the presence and absence of conspecific song. Body condition did not vary with rearing density, and immune response did not vary with either acoustic environment or rearing density. Interestingly, group-housed males were more phonotactic than singly-housed males. This pattern was largely driven by the low levels of phonotaxis exhibited by males that were singly-housed in the presence of conspecific song. These findings suggest that males respond to social cues in addition to conspecific song, but that these cues do not necessarily provide concordant information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)552-568
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Insect Behavior
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Behavioral plasticity
  • Teleogryllus oceanicus
  • density dependent prophylaxis
  • satellite behavior
  • sexual selection
  • signal loss


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