Navigation Links
Size matters: Eavesdropping on sexual signals
Date:5/12/2010

RIVERSIDE, Calif. In the animal kingdom, sexual signals often are manifested as displays of bright coloration or, in the case of crickets, as loud song.

Adult male crickets produce loud song to attract females, but the song, which permeates the environment, can be overheard also by unintended receivers - such as young males unable to produce song due to a mutation they carry.

Until now researchers have not understood how non-singing male crickets use the song of singing males to modify their behavior or physical attributes to their advantage.

Now biologists at the University of California, Riverside have shed light on this mystery.

In the lab, they exposed one set of juvenile male crickets to a silent environment (which mimicked a population without very many singing males) and a second set of young male crickets to a song-rich environment (mimicking a population that contained lots of singing males).

Comparing the two sets of data, they found that male crickets growing up in the presence of abundant male song tend to be larger than male crickets growing up in a silent environment, and invest nearly 10 percent more reproductive tissue mass in their testes.

The researchers also found that male crickets that do not hear song during rearing are more likely to act as 'satellites,' hanging out near singing males and intercepting females on their way for matings.

"Subtle modifications of behavior depending on the environment, not genes, means that even in insects, animals aren't 'programmed' or 'hard-wired' to do what they do," said Marlene Zuk, a professor of biology, whose lab conducted the research.

Study results appeared May 11 in the journal Current Biology.

"Larger is probably better for the crickets because it allows males to better compete against other males in their environment," said Nathan Bailey, the lead author of the research paper, who worked as a postdoctoral researcher in Zuk's lab. "Being flexible according to who is around can be beneficial and help maximize the chance of reproducing."

The new research suggests that sexual signals may play a hitherto under-appreciated role in determining how an animal looks and behaves once it grows up.

"Sexual signals do more than just attract mates," Bailey explained. "They can also influence other animals' development just by virtue of being perceived. The ability to change oneself according to the prevailing social conditions might be adaptive, especially in an environment that is constantly changing.

"On a more global scale, people often think of insects, especially the non-social insects, as mindless automatons, pre-programmed to carry out simple procedures throughout their lives," he said. "Our research shows quite the opposite, and demonstrates how even small, inconspicuous animals respond to the vagaries of their social environment by capitalizing on conspicuous signals that are intended for a different receiver."

The research, all of which was done at UCR, was funded by the National Science Foundation, the UCR Academic Senate and the UCR Graduate Division.

"Our findings have caused us to think more about the implications of social experience in insects," Bailey said. "For example, how do these changes give the crickets an edge in competitive encounters? And do these findings apply to other species of animalsdo they respond in the same way to sexual signals?"


'/>"/>

Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
iqbal@ucr.edu
951-827-6050
University of California - Riverside
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. In spiders, size matters: Small males are more often meals
2. Like eavesdropping at a party
3. Hormonal contraceptives associated with higher risk of female sexual dysfunction
4. Child sexual abuse: A risk factor for pregnancy
5. CSHL-Mexican team coaxes sexually reproducing plant to brink of asexual reproduction
6. Asexual plant reproduction may seed new approach for agriculture
7. Study shows value of sexual reproduction versus asexual reproduction
8. Researchers begin to decipher metabolism of sexual assault drug
9. Are female mountain goats sexually conflicted over size of mate?
10. Yeast missing sex genes undergo unexpected sexual reproduction
11. Sexual harassment from males prevents female bonding, says study
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Size matters: Eavesdropping on sexual signals
(Date:5/16/2016)... --  EyeLock LLC , a market leader of iris-based ... IoT Center of Excellence in Austin, Texas ... embedded iris biometric applications. EyeLock,s iris authentication ... with unmatched biometric accuracy, making it the most proven ... platform uses video technology to deliver a fast and ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... BANGALORE, India , April 28, 2016 ... subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: INFY ), and Samsung ... global partnership that will provide end customers with a ... and payment services.      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130122/589162 ... for financial services, but it also plays a fundamental part ...
(Date:4/19/2016)... , UAE, April 20, 2016 ... implemented as a compact web-based "all-in-one" system solution for ... biometric fingerprint reader or the door interface with integration ... modern access control systems. The minimal dimensions of the ... readers into the building installations offer considerable freedom of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 Epic ... sensitively detects cancers susceptible to PARP inhibitors by ... tumor cells (CTCs). The new test has already ... therapeutics in multiple cancer types. Over ... DNA damage response pathways, including PARP, ATM, ATR, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016   Boston Biomedical , an ... designed to target cancer stemness pathways, announced that ... Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. Food and ... cancer, including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. Napabucasin is ... inhibit cancer stemness pathways by targeting STAT3, and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016  The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) ... precise treatments and faster cures for prostate cancer. Members of the Class of ... 15 countries. Read More About the Class of 2016 ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... In a new case ... Denmark detail how a patient who developed lymphedema after being treated for breast cancer ... could change the paradigm for dealing with this debilitating, frequent side effect of cancer ...
Breaking Biology Technology: