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A Preliminary Analysis of Mate Choice in a Bush Cricket (Poecilimon laevissimus: Tettigoniidae) Suggests Virginity Is More Important than Body Size

J. McCartney and K-G. Heller
Journal of Orthoptera Research
Vol. 17, No. 2, Body Size in Orthoptera (2008), pp. 227-230
Published by: Orthopterists' Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25473445
Page Count: 5
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A Preliminary Analysis of Mate Choice in a Bush Cricket (Poecilimon laevissimus: Tettigoniidae) Suggests Virginity Is More Important than Body Size
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Abstract

Insects are predicted to prefer larger partners for a number of reasons relating to fitness. In species where males provide an expensive nuptial gift, male and female preferences for a larger partner are likely to be more pronounced. In nuptial-feeding insects however, models of sperm competition and female choice predict that males and females should also prefer virgin partners. Here we test the relative importance of size vs virginity in a Greek bushcricket, Poecilimon laevissimus, in which males offer typically large nuptial gifts during mating. While only a small number of replicates could be implemented, and there is a clear need for further analysis, we found that all males and females preferred to mate with virgins, despite the fact that nearly 90% of the virgins were smaller in size than the nonvirgins offered. In terms of mate choice, virginity therefore appears more important than body size in P. laevissimus.

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