In response to the reduction in fitness associated with sperm competition, males are expected to evolve tactics that hinder female remating. For example, females often display a post-mating reduction in their sexual receptivity that has been shown to be mediated by proteins contained in a male's seminal fluid (sfps). However, although there has been comprehensive research on sfps in genetically well characterized species, few non-model species have been studied in such detail. We initially confirm that female Australian field crickets, Teleogryllus oceanicus, do display a significant reduction in their mate searching behavior 24 hours after mating. This effect was still apparent three days after mating but was entirely absent after one week. We then attempted to identify the sfps that might play a role in inducing this behavioral response. We identified two proteins, ToSfp022 and ToSfp011, that were associated with the alteration in female post-mating behavior. The knockdown of both proteins resulted in mated females that displayed a significant increase in their mate searching behaviors compared with females mated to males having the full compliment of seminal fluid proteins in their ejaculate. Our results indicate that the female refractory period in T. oceanicus likely reflects a sperm competition avoidance tactic by males, achieved through the action of male seminal fluid proteins.
|Date made available||25 Aug 2020|