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Female house crickets, Acheta domesticus, prefer the chirps of large males

This study demonstrates that invertebrate acoustic signals can provide information about male phenotypic attributes, and that females can use this acoustic information in mate choice to select a phenotypically superior mate. I investigated the relationships between a male acoustic sexual signal, the phenotype of the signaller, and the female response to signal variation. I recorded and analysed the calling songs of male house crickets,Acheta domesticus. The analyses showed that chirps convey information about male size. With the exception of amplitude, the mean number of pulses per chirp was the best predictor of male size. I performed a laboratory tape-playback experiment to determine female preference during phonotaxis. Females preferred tapes playing the chirps of large males, specifically chirps with a greater number of pulses per chirp. Selection on the female preference is discussed.

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