|Parallel plasticity of mating songs and preferences in the field cricket Gryllus rubens|
|Oliver Beckers1, Katherine Murphey1,2, Jacob Pease1, Nicholas Norman1. 1Murray State University, Murray, Kentucky, United States; 2University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, United States
In animal communication, matching signals and preferences enable species identification and successful reproduction. In some species, the environment introduces substantial variation in signals and/or preferences. We tested the signal-preference coupling in the bivoltine cricket Gryllus rubens. First, we tested the seasonal effect on fine-temporal characters of the songs, including pulse rate, pulse and interval duration, duty cycle, and dominant frequency. Then, we tested song preferences of spring and fall females in single-speaker phonotaxis experiments. We found that fall songs had a faster pulse rate, shorter pulse and interval durations, and a higher dominant frequency than spring songs. Female preferences shifted in parallel with male song plasticity, i.e., spring females preferred the spring song and fall females the fall song. In addition, fall females were significantly more responsive than spring females. The parallel plasticity of male songs and female preferences facilitates successful communication despite the environmentally-induced variation. The evolution of behavioral plasticity in G. rubens is discussed.