TitleBaffling: a condition-dependent alternative mate attraction strategy using self-made tools in tree crickets.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsDeb R, Modak S, Balakrishnan R
JournalProc Biol Sci
Date Published2020 Dec 23

Intense sexual selection in the form of mate choice can facilitate the evolution of different alternative reproductive strategies, which can be condition-dependent. Tree cricket males produce long-distance acoustic signals which are used by conspecific females for mate localization and mate choice. Our study shows that baffling, an acoustic call amplification strategy employed by male tree crickets using self-made tools, is a classic example of a condition-dependent alternative strategy. We show that though most males can baffle, less preferred males, such as smaller and lower-amplitude callers, predominantly use this alternative strategy. Baffling allows these males to increase their call amplitude and advertisement range, which attracts a higher number of females. Baffling also gives these males a mating benefit because females mate for longer durations with them. Our results suggest that the advantage of baffling in terms of gain in the number of sperm cells transferred while mating is primarily limited to less preferred males, thus maintaining the polymorphism of calling strategies in the population. We summarize that baffling is a condition-dependent strategy used by less preferred tree cricket males to obtain mating benefits.

Alternate JournalProc Biol Sci
PubMed ID33323074