Long-distance signals influence assessment of close range mating displays in the field cricket, Gryllus integer
Male sexual displays often include components detected across long distances, and those perceived only at close range. Understanding what information females gain from each component of a complex display and how they use these signals to make decisions are questions of major interest in sexual selection research. We evaluated content-based hypotheses (‘redundant signals’ and ‘multiple messages’) for the courtship displays of field crickets (Gryllus integer) by measuring female responses to males' long-distance calling song (calls) and close-range chemical cues. Females' responses to a male's calls and chemical cues were uncorrelated, supporting the ‘multiple messages’ hypothesis. We also tested the ‘inter-signal interaction’ hypothesis by investigating how long-distance calls influence evaluation of close-range courtship. The relationship between long- and close-range signals was complex and conditional: females accepted close-range courtship more quickly after exposure to attractive calling song than they did after exposure to either unattractive calling song or silence, and unattractive calls were no more or less effective than silence. This inter-signal interaction could affect our understanding of mate choice in species with multiple mating signals because it implies that females may save time and energy by not assessing the close-range signals of attractive long-distance signalers. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 100, 856–865.