Male dominance determines female egg laying rate in crickets

  • Bretman A
  • Rodríguez-Muñoz R
  • Tregenza T
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A key prediction of theories of differential allocation and sexual conflict is that male phenotype will affect resource allocation by females. Females may adaptively increase investment in offspring when mated to high quality males to enhance the quality of their offspring, or males may vary in their ability to manipulate female investment post-mating. Males are known to be able to influence female reproductive investment, but the male traits underlying this ability have been little studied in taxa other than birds. We investigated the relationship between male dominance and female oviposition rate in two separate experiments using the field cricket, Gryllus bimaculatus. In both experiments, females mated to more dominant (but not larger) males laid more eggs. This reveals that either females allocate more effort to reproduction after mating with a dominant male or that dominance status is associated with male ability to manipulate their mates. This is the first evidence that dominance, rather than male attractiveness, has a post-copulatory effect on reproductive investment by females.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Acp
  • Female choice
  • Fighting
  • Parental investment
  • Sexual selection

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