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Insects 2015, 6(1), 85-99;

Male Armaments and Reproductive Behavior in “Nutcracker” Camel Crickets (Rhaphidophoridae, Pristoceuthophilus)

Department of Biology, California State University, Northridge, 18111 Nordhoff Street, Northridge, CA 91330-8303, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Brian T. Forschler
Received: 23 September 2014 / Accepted: 24 December 2014 / Published: 7 January 2015
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Males of many species possess striking weaponry used in intrasexual competition for access to females. Until recently, there were no known cases of male weaponry being used against females in sexual coercion. However, in the camel cricket, Pristoceuthophilus marmoratus, males use modified hind legs to fight with each other and also to trap females and force them to copulate. To determine whether hind leg armaments serve similar fighting and mating functions in morphologically similar congeners, we performed a comparative survey of armament use in intra- and inter-sexual interactions in four additional species of Pristoceuthophilus (P. arizonae and three undescribed species: P. ‘Huachuca summer,’ P. ‘Madera’ and P. ‘Mt. Pinos’). Intrasexual leg fighting occurred in all species for which trials were performed, and hints of sexual coercion occurred in two species (P. ‘Huachuca summer’ and P. ‘Mt. Pinos’), suggesting additional cases of a uniquely dual-purpose armament. These findings suggest an evolutionary exaptation of hind leg armaments in this genus, wherein an intrasexual fighting weapon took on a secondary function of sexual coercion. View Full-Text
Keywords: male-male competition; forced copulation; weaponry; comparative study; Orthoptera male-male competition; forced copulation; weaponry; comparative study; Orthoptera

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Conroy, L.P.; Gray, D.A. Male Armaments and Reproductive Behavior in “Nutcracker” Camel Crickets (Rhaphidophoridae, Pristoceuthophilus). Insects 2015, 6, 85-99.

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