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An attractive male trait and aggressiveness are negatively correlated in wild field crickets, but uncorrelated in lab-reared crickets

Hedrick, Ann, Bunting, Jamie
Behavioral ecology and sociobiology 2014 v.68 no.2 pp. 233-238
Gryllus, aggression, correlation, females, males
It is generally thought that attractive male traits are positively correlated with dominance (aggressiveness). However, growing evidence suggests that this is not necessarily the case. We investigated whether calling song, a male mating display used by females to evaluate potential mates in a field cricket (Gryllus integer), is correlated with aggressiveness. In this species, females prefer males with longer durations of singing time. We measured singing time by measuring song over three continuous days using a custom-designed audio-monitor and assessed aggressiveness by pairing males in agonistic interactions. Our results showed that for males caught in the field, the percentage of time spent singing was negatively correlated with aggressiveness. However, in males that were raised in the laboratory, the percentage of time spent singing was not correlated with aggressiveness. Since calling duration is an attractive male trait in these crickets, our data show that the attractiveness of males can be either negatively related to aggressiveness (field) or unrelated to aggressiveness (lab). Neither of these results fit the traditional view that preferred male mating cues should be positively correlated with dominance (aggressiveness). These results also suggest that measurements of aggressiveness made in the lab do not necessarily correspond with aggressiveness in the field.