Alexander E. Olvido, Pearl R. Fernandes, Timothy A. Mousseau
Journal of Insect Science 10 (90), 1-17, (1 July 2010) https://doi.org/10.1673/031.010.9001
KEYWORDS: heritability, maternal effect, mating call, Orthoptera, phonotaxis, reaction norm
Finding a mate is a fundamental aspect of sexual reproduction. To this end, specific-mate recognition systems (SMRS) have evolved that facilitate copulation between producers of the mating signal and their opposite-sex responders. Environmental variation, however, may compromise the efficiency with which SMRS operate. In this study, the degree to which seasonal climate experienced during juvenile and adult life-cycle stages affects the SMRS of a cricket, Allonemobius socius (Scudder) (Orthoptera: Gryllidae) was assessed. Results from two-choice behavioral trials suggest that adult ambient temperature, along with population and family origins, mediate variation in male mating call, and to a lesser extent directional response of females for those calls. Restricted maximum-likelihood estimates of heritability for male mating call components and for female response to mating call appeared statistically nonsignificant. However, appreciable “maternal genetic effects” suggest that maternal egg provisioning and other indirect maternal determinants of the embryonic environment significantly contributed to variation in male mating call and female response to mating calls. Thus, environmental factors can generate substantial variation in A. socius mating call, and, more importantly, their marginal effect on female responses to either fast-chirp or long-chirp mating calls suggest negative fitness consequences to males producing alternative types of calls. Future studies of sexual selection and SMRS evolution, particularly those focused on hybrid zone dynamics, should take explicit account of the loose concordance between signal producers and responders suggested by the current findings.