Understanding female mate preference is important for determining the strength and direction of sexual trait evolution. The sound pressure level (SPL) acoustic signalers use is often an important predictor of mating success because higher sound pressure levels are detectable at greater distances. If females are more attracted to signals produced at higher sound pressure levels, then the potential fitness impacts of signalling at higher sound pressure levels should be elevated beyond what would be expected fromdetection distance alone. Here we manipulated the sound pressure level of cricket mate attraction signals to determine how female phonotaxis was influenced. We examined female phonotaxis using two common experimental methods: spherical treadmills and open arenas. Both methods showed similar results, with females exhibiting greatest phonotaxis towards loud sound pressure levels relative to the standard signal (69 vs. 60 dB SPL) but showing reduced phonotaxis towards very loud sound pressure level signals relative to the standard (77 vs. 60 dB SPL). Reduced female phonotaxis towards supernormal stimuli may signify an acoustic startle response, an absence of other required sensory cues, or perceived increases in predation risk.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Age, Amplitude, Female preference, Gryllus assimilis, Kramer spherical treadmill, Locomotion compensator, Loudness, Phonotaxis, Teleogryllus, Trackball
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj.437
Journal PeerJ
Pacheco, K. (Karen), & Bertram, S.M. (2014). How male sound pressure level influences phonotaxis in virgin female Jamaican field crickets (Gryllus assimilis). PeerJ, 2014(1). doi:10.7717/peerj.437