Sexual displays of acoustically signalling insects are used in the context of mate attraction and mate choice. While energetic investment in sound production can increase the reproductive success of the sender, this entails metabolic costs. Resource allocation into sexually selected, reproductive traits can trade off against allocation to naturally selected traits (e.g., growth, immunity) when individuals' energy budgets are limited. Estimating the magnitude of the costs invested in acoustic signalling is necessary to understand this trade-off and its influence on fitness and life-history. To compare the costs associated with acoustic signalling for two ensiferan species, we simultaneously took respiratory measurements to record the rate of CO2 production and used infrared thermography to measure the increase in thorax temperature. Furthermore, to identify what combinations of acoustic parameters were energetically costly for the sender, we recorded the calling songs of 22 different cricket and katydid species for a comparative analysis and measured their thorax temperature while they sang.
Acoustic signalling was energetically costly for Mecopoda sp. and Anurogryllus muticus, requiring a 12- and 16-fold increase over resting levels in the CO2 production rate. Moreover, calling increased thorax temperature, on average, by 7.6 and 5.8°C, respectively. We found that the song intensity and effective calling rate, but not simply the chirp/trill duty cycle or the pulse rate alone were good predictors for the thorax temperature increase in males.
- Received January 2, 2017.
- Accepted May 8, 2017.
- © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd