Thesis Progress at CES on 13 September 2017 at 3:00 pm titled "URGENT: Direct and indirect effects of increased predation risk on mating success in tree crickets" by Viraj Torsekar from CES, IISc
Ever since the satellite strategy was observed as an alternative reproductive tactic in males, various conditions have been manipulated to determine what affects the mating success of individuals using calling versus satellite strategies in crickets. These conditions include empirically manipulating densities of male crickets, and manipulating predation risk using simulations. We carried out experimental manipulations of predation risk to examine its effect on mating success in the tree cricket species Oecanthus henryi. Instead of treating reproductive strategies as categories, we considered propensity to communicate as a continuous trait. Since communication includes not just a distribution of calling effort in males, but also variable amount of searching by females, we addressed this question in both male and female crickets. Using field enclosure experiments, we tested whether increased predation risk affects mating success of male and female crickets via reduced survival or decreased propensity to communicate (ie. call or search). We increased predation risk faced by crickets inside enclosures and made behavioural observations using low and high resolution scan sampling. Whether mating success is dependent on male calling effort or survivorship was determined using a mixed model framework.