Conservation of multivariate female preference functions and preference mechanisms in three species of trilling field crickets

Divergence in mate recognition systems among closely related species is an important contributor to assortative mating and reproductive isolation. Here, we examine divergence in male song traits and female preference functions in three cricket species with songs consisting of long trills. The shape of female preference functions appears to be mostly conserved across species and follows the predictions from a recent model for song recognition. Multivariate preference profiles, combining the pulse and trill parameters, demonstrate selectivity for conspecific pulse rates and high trill duty cycles. The rules for integration across pulse and trill timescales were identical for all three species. Generally, we find greater divergence in male song traits than in associated female preferences. For pulse rate, we find a strong match between divergent male traits and female peak preferences. Preference functions for trill parameters and carrier frequency are similar between species and show less congruence between signal and preference. Differences among traits in the degree of trait-preference (mis)match may reflect the strength of preferences and the potential for linkage disequilibrium, selective constraints and alternative selective pressures, but appear unrelated to selection for mate recognition per se.