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Courtship feeding in decorated crickets: is the spermatophylax a sham?

Authors
Journal
Animal Behaviour
0003-3472
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
48
Issue
6
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1006/anbe.1994.1367
Disciplines
  • Medicine

Abstract

Abstract Abstract. The spermatophore transferred by a male decorated cricket, Gryllodes sigillatus , at mating includes a large gelatinous spermatophylax, devoid of sperm, which the female removes and feeds on after copulation. Previous studies have shown that consumption of the spermatophylax keeps the female preoccupied while sperm from the remaining portion of the spermatophore is expelled into her reproductive tract; hence, the spermatophylax functions to ensure complete sperm transfer. To determine whether consumption of the spermatophylax also provides significant nutritional benefits to females and whether such benefits are contingent on food availability, female G. sigillatus were allowed to consume zero, one, or three spermatophylaxes per day and were either deprived of food, fed 30% of ad libitum food demands, or allowed unrestricted access to food (Purina ® cricket chow). The number of spermatophylaxes consumed by females had no significant effect on the mass of eggs or number of nymphs produced, and there was no significant interaction between the number of spermatophylaxes consumed and food availability. Although there may be other benefits to its consumption, the present study suggests that as a food 'gift', the spermatophylax is a sham.

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