Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lightweight And Long-legged Males Go The Distance For Sex

Date:
September 8, 2008
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
A study of giant cricket-like insects suggests that sexual selection for smaller, more mobile males could be responsible for some of the impressive sexual difference in body size in this species and may explain other species where males are smaller than females.

An adult female giant weta (Deinacrida rugosa) on the hand of Darryl Gwynne, one of the study's researchers.
Credit: Darryl T. Gwynne

Finding a mate can take considerable legwork as recently illustrated by the flightless and nocturnal Cook Strait giant weta Deinacrida rugosa. This cricket relative is found in New Zealand and is one of the world's heaviest insects with females weighing in at 20 g, averaging twice the size of males.

In a field study on Maud Island, New Zealand, evolutionary biologists from the University of Toronto at Mississauga discovered that male giant weta most successful at mating travel greater distances each night. Remarkably, it appears that being lightweight and having longer legs assist male wanderlust. Clint Kelly, Luc Bussiθre, and Darryl Gwynne found that males can walk more than 90 m each night in search of a mate – roughly equivalent to a 7000 m outing by a human male.

Kelly and colleagues gained unprecedented insight into mating habits of weta by radio-tracking them over several days. This allowed calculations of distance walked and identification of with whom each male and female "spent the day."

Because a male giant weta copulates repeatedly with his mate throughout the day, the biologists estimated how much sperm was transferred by counting the empty packets (spermatophores) piled beneath the pair. Not only do males travel more than twice as far as females but small, long-legged individuals walked further, acquired more mates, and transferred more spermatophores to females (no female traits predicted female mobility or mating success).

"Our findings are a rare example of sexual selection favoring a suite of traits that promote greater mobility in one sex only," stated Kelly, adding " this is exciting because it suggests that sexual selection for smaller, more mobile males could be responsible for some of the impressive sexual difference in body size in this species." Importantly, however, this phenomenon may also help to explain why males are smaller than females in some other animals.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kelly et al. Sexual Selection for Male Mobility in a Giant Insect with Female‐Biased Size Dimorphism.. The American Naturalist, 2008; 172 (3): 417 DOI: 10.1086/589894

Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "Lightweight And Long-legged Males Go The Distance For Sex." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 September 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080905153853.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2008, September 8). Lightweight And Long-legged Males Go The Distance For Sex. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080905153853.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "Lightweight And Long-legged Males Go The Distance For Sex." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080905153853.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) — Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

AFP (Sep. 27, 2014) — The drop in price of soy on the international market is a cause for concern in Argentina, as soybean exports are a major source of income for Latin America's third largest economy. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) — A mama bear and her two cubs climb trees, wrestle and take naps in the backyard of a Monrovia, California home. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Crazy' Climate Forces Colombian Farmers to Adapt

'Crazy' Climate Forces Colombian Farmers to Adapt

AFP (Sep. 26, 2014) — Once upon a time, farming was a blissfully low-tech business on Colombia's northern plains. Duration: 02:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins