calling song preference in the field
These data were collected using playback speakers in the field on Oahu, Hawai'i. Speakers broadcasting 4 calling song models constructed using Raven software in the laboratory. Abstract: Many mating behaviors are context-dependent and can be strongly influenced by the ecological and social environment. Ecological factors like temperature, humidity, and predation, as well as social factors like the availability of mates and the presence of reproductive competitors can influence the expression of female preferences and male mating tactics, Though laboratory settings are a common and ideal place to study reproductive behavior, they are often wildly different from natural settings, particularly with regard to temperature and humidity variation and predator and parasite presence. Here, we examined the reproductive behaviors of the Pacific field cricket, Teleogryllus oceanicus, in a natural setting, in the wild. Using playback speakers in the field, we measured male and female preferences for certain male calling song characteristics. We also measured parasitoid abundance and compared this with five years of previous parasitoid abundance data. We found no strong evidence that males or females are exercising a preference for certain male calling song characteristics in the wild. We also found that parasitoid abundance was the higher than any of the previously recorded abundances. Our results suggest that wild crickets are plastically responding to their social environment, as the presence of the parasitoid may be driving mate availability down, resulting in a suppression of female preferences, and in turn, male preferences for attractive male calls.