Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 31, Issue 5, pp 552–568 | Cite as

Is it the Song or the Singers? Acoustic and Social Experiences Shape Adult Reproductive Tactics and Condition

  • Susan L. BalengerEmail author
  • Elizabeth Bastiaans
  • Marlene Zuk


When sexual signals are perceived during growth and development they can provide information regarding the social conditions likely to be encountered as an adult. Perception of cues related to the presence and density of future mates and potential competitors can result in altered adult phenotypes. Previous studies have shown that adult male Teleogryllus oceanicus field crickets from a Kauai, Hawaii population reared alone and without hearing conspecific song are more phonotactic than those reared with song. These naïve males also reduce investment in body size and immunity. Here we examined whether another source of population density information, the presence of other males, affects behavior, size, and immunity. Specifically, we examined satellite behavior as evidenced by strength of phonotaxis, body condition, and immune response in males reared singly and in groups in the presence and absence of conspecific song. Body condition did not vary with rearing density, and immune response did not vary with either acoustic environment or rearing density. Interestingly, group-housed males were more phonotactic than singly-housed males. This pattern was largely driven by the low levels of phonotaxis exhibited by males that were singly-housed in the presence of conspecific song. These findings suggest that males respond to social cues in addition to conspecific song, but that these cues do not necessarily provide concordant information.


Behavioral plasticity density dependent prophylaxis sexual selection satellite behavior signal loss Teleogryllus oceanicus 



Thanks to L. Lara and E. Schmidtman for assistance with behavioral assays and rearing crickets, and D. Sukarhan for assistance with immune assays. This work was funded by an HHMI Undergraduate Education Grant to E.B., the University of Minnesota and a National Science Foundation Grant to M.Z. (IOS 1261575).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

All experiments conducted and presented in the manuscript comply with the laws and rules of the institution and country in which they were performed.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (PDF 314 kb)
10905_2018_9698_MOESM2_ESM.docx (16 kb)
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan L. Balenger
    • 1
    Email author
  • Elizabeth Bastiaans
    • 2
  • Marlene Zuk
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of MississippiUniversityUSA
  2. 2.Biology DepartmentSUNY College at OneontaOneontaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Ecology, Evolution, and BehaviorUniversity of MinnesotaSaint PaulUSA

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