We investigated the stridulatory courtship initiated by male-male contact after agonistic encounters and the effect of dominance status on subsequent reproductive behavior in the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus. When two male crickets were kept together in a small area, their dominance status was quickly established through fighting or non-fighting interactions. Approximately 10 min after pairing, most dominant males produced calling and/or courtship songs in the presence of subordinate males. This behavior appeared to be triggered by some contact chemicals on the body surface of the males. Stimulation using the forewing of a neutral male induced courtship in dominant males at a higher level compared with neutral males which were not previously paired with males. These observations suggest that the sexual motivation in dominant males increased because of previous agonistic interactions. In contrast, subordinate males remained silent. Stimulation using the male forewing induced stridulation to a lesser degree in subordinate males than in neutral males, suggesting decreased sexual motivation in subordinate males. Furthermore, only 40% of subordinate males exhibited courtship behavior under triadic conditions (dominant male, subordinate male and female) in contrast with 100% in male-female pairs. This result reveals that subordinate males, being less sexually motivated, are continuously suppressed in their courtship by intermittent attacks by the nearby dominant males. In the other triadic condition where the males were allowed to copulate, 65% of the dominant males copulated, while none of the subordinates did. These results suggest that dominant males have a greater chance to copulate and produce offspring.
- Contact chemosensory
- Sexual motivation