Experimental manipulation of mate choice by male katydids: the effect of female encounter rate

T.E. Shelly, Win Bailey

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    This study tests the general prediction that discrimination among potential mates increases with the availability of potential mates. Specifically, we conducted two experiments that examined mate choice by male zaprochiline katydids in relation to their prior encounter rate with females. The probability of mate acceptance or rejection was measured for males given either frequent or no contact with females in the laboratory (experiment 1) and males taken directly from natural areas of either high or low female abundance (experiment 2). In both experiments, males with low female encounter rates were more likely to mate than males with high female encounter rates. In both cases, the decreased mating probability of males in the high encounter treatment resulted from their tendency to reject lighter (and less fecund) females. Despite the presumed advantage to males of selecting heavier females, field data indicate that, unlike females, males do not aggregate in rich food patches. Possible explanations for this finding are, discussed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)277-282
    JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
    Publication statusPublished - 1992


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