Male sand crickets trade-off flight capability for reproductive potential

J Evol Biol. 2008 Jul;21(4):997-1004. doi: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2008.01548.x. Epub 2008 May 16.


In this paper, we test the hypothesis that male sand crickets, Gryllus firmus, experience a trade-off between flight capability and reproductive potential expressed as reduced testis weight in flight-capable morphs. We used a half-sib design with 130 sires, three dams per sire and an average of 5.66 males per dam family, for a total of 2206 F1 offspring. Traits measured were head width, somatic dry weight, testis weight, wing morph (micropterous/macropterous), weight of the dorso-longitudinal flight muscles (DLM) and the functional status of these muscles. Heritabilities of all traits were significant and ranged from 0.14 to 0.43. All traits were positively correlated with body size, but removal of this covariance revealed a highly significant trade-off, both phenotypically and genetically, between testes size and flight capability as measured by wing morph, DLM size or DLM status. The possible implications of this for morph-specific reproductive tactics are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Flight, Animal / physiology*
  • Gryllidae / physiology*
  • Male
  • Phenotype
  • Reproduction / physiology*