Male mating preferences are often a neglected aspect of studies on sexual selection. Male mating preferences may evolve if they provide males with direct-fitness benefits such as increased opportunity to fertilize more eggs or indirect-fitness benefits such as enhanced offspring survival. We tested these ideas using Jamaican field crickets, Gryllus assimilis, previously shown to exhibit male mating preferences. We randomly mated males to either their preferred or non-preferred potential mates and then asked whether mating treatment influenced egg oviposition or offspring viability. Preferred females were not significantly more fecund and did not produce more viable eggs or offspring than non-preferred females. Male mate preferences were therefore inconsistent with both the direct- and indirect-fitness benefits hypotheses under the conditions of our experiment. Our null results leave us with an open question about what is driving the evolution of mating preferences in male crickets. Future research should explore the whether the offspring of preferred females are more attractive, have stronger immune systems, and/or experience higher adult longevity.

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Keywords body size, male mate choice, male mating preferences, mate choice, mate preference evolution, sexual selection
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Journal Ethology
Bertram, S.M, Harrison, S.J. (Sarah J.), Ferguson, G.L. (Genevieve L.), Thomson, I.R. (Ian R.), Loranger, M.J. (Michelle J.), Reifer, M.L. (Mykell L.), … Gowaty, P.A. (Patricia Adair). (2017). What is driving male mate preference evolution in Jamaican field crickets?. Ethology, 123(11), 793–799. doi:10.1111/eth.12649