Hydration benefits to courtship feeding in crickets

Tracie M. Ivy, J. Chadwick Johnson, Scott K. Sakaluk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


The spermatophore transferred by male decorated crickets (Gryllodes sigillatus) at mating includes a large gelatinous spermatophylax that the female consumes after copulation. Although previous studies have shown that G. sigillatus females gain no nutritional benefits from consuming food gifts, there may be other benefits to their consumption. We examined potential hydration benefits to females by experimentally manipulating both the availability of water and the number of food gifts that females consumed and by measuring their effect on female fitness. Analysis of the number of nymphs produced by females revealed a significant interaction between the number of spermatophylaxes consumed and water availability. When spermatophylaxes were not provided, females given water ad libitum produced significantly more nymphs than females subjected to water stress. Female longevity was significantly affected by water availability, with an increase in the availability of water corresponding to a significant increase in female longevity. These data suggest that female G. sigillatus accrue fitness benefits by consuming spermatophylaxes when alternative sources of water are unavailable. In addition, females appear to allocate water contained in spermatophylaxes towards reproduction as opposed to survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1523-1527
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1428
StatePublished - Aug 7 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Courtship food gifts
  • Crickets
  • Gryllodes sigillatus
  • Life-history trade-offs
  • Sexual selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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