Abstract. Mating effort, the energy exerted in finding and persuading a member of the opposite sex to mate, may be influenced by how frequently potential mates are encountered. Specifically, males that frequently encounter females may reduce calling effort and be less eager to mate than males that infrequently encounter females. An experiment was set up to test this hypothesis, using the tettigoniid Requena verticalis. We examined the song structure, calling activity and mating propensity of individual males exposed to one of five different encounter rates with virgin females. Song structure and calling effort were significantly altered by an encounter with a female. After an encounter, males significantly increased chirp rate and decreased variability in interchirp interval. Encounters also stimulated a male to call and to continue to call for up to two hours. The elapsed time since mating affected mating propensity but not calling activity. Mating propensity asymptotically increased to reach a maximum by day 17 since last mating. However, neither the frequency of encounters, nor the number of previous encounters experienced by a male, influenced calling activity or the propensity of a male to mate. The significance of changes in song structure and calling activity following an encounter, and of increasing male mating propensity over time, are discussed.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.