Female remating propensity contingent on sexual cannibalism in sagebrush crickets, Cyphoderris strepitans: A mechanism of cryptic female choice

J. Chadwick Johnson, Tracie M. Ivy, Scott K. Sakaluk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Scopus citations


Male sagebrush crickets (Cyphoderris strepitans) permit females to engage in an unusual form of sexual cannibalism during copulation: females feed on males' fleshy hind wings and ingest hemolymph oozing from the wounds they inflict. These wounds are not fatal, and normally only a portion of the hind wings are eaten at any one mating, so that mated males are not precluded from mating again. As a result, nonvirgin males have fewer material resources to offer females than do virgin males, such that females should be selected to preferentially mate with high-investment virgin males. We tested the hypothesis that female mating preferences favor males capable of supplying females with the highest material investment. Our results indicate that both female diet and opportunities for sexual cannibalism influence female mating behavior. Females maintained on a low-nutrient diet mounted males significantly sooner than females maintained on a high-nutrient diet, indicating that a female's overall nutrient intake may determine her propensity to mate. In addition, females were significantly more reluctant to mount and mate with males whose hind wings had been surgically removed and thus were incapable of providing females with a wing meal. Finally, females initially mated to dewinged males remated with winged males significantly sooner than females allowed to feed freely during their initial mating, resulting in cryptic female choice of investing males.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-233
Number of pages7
JournalBehavioral Ecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999
Externally publishedYes



  • Courtship feeding
  • Cryptic female choice
  • Cyphoderris strepitans
  • Sagebrush crickets
  • Sexual cannibalism
  • Sexual selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

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