In mate recognition systems, the functional necessity to coordinate traits involved in sexual communication should result in reduced pairing potential for new variants outside the distribution of common reproductive signals. Yet, many closely related, sexual species differ in mate recognition traits, suggesting that directional selection influences the divergence of mate recognition systems. Species of the endemic Hawaiian cricket genus Laupala are morphologically and ecologically cryptic, although both male calling song and female acoustic preference have diverged rapidly between closely related species. These mate recognition phenotypes are therefore often likely to be speciation phenotypes, i.e. traits whose divergence contributes, directly or indirectly, to a reduction of gene flow during speciation, given their frequent participation in early lineage divergence. We conducted a replicated, quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping study of the genetic basis of differences in male calling song between two closely related species, Laupala paranigra and Laupala kohalensis, allowing us to examine the genetic basis of traits involved in rapid speciation. We found statistical support for eight QTL in one replicate, with at least four of these QTL mapping to the same regions in a second replicate. QTL effects ranged between 3.0% and 10.7% of the difference in pulse rate between L. paranigra and L. kohalensis, and are thus of moderate to small effect. All QTL identified show directional effects consistent with the hypothesis of directional selection. Thus, we conclude that rapid speciation can occur under the influence of many genes of moderate to small effect. This study implicates the role of directional selection in the divergence of mate recognition traits and speciation the Hawaiian cricket genus Laupala.