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Large Numbers of Matings Give Female Field Crickets a Direct Benefit but not a Genetic Benefit


Female crickets can potentially gain both direct and indirect benefits from mating multiple times with different males. Most studies have only examined the effects of small numbers of matings, although female crickets are capable of mating many times. The goal of this paper is to examine the direct and indirect benefits of mating large numbers of times for female reproductive success. In a previous experiment, female Gryllus vocalis were found to gain diminishing direct benefits from mating large numbers of times. In this study I attempt to determine whether mating large numbers of times yields similar diminishing returns on female indirect benefits. Virgin female Gryllus vocalis crickets were assigned to mate five, ten or 15 times with either the same or different males. Females that mated more times gained direct benefits in terms of laying more eggs and more fertilized eggs. Females that mated with different males rather than mating repeatedly with the same male did not have higher offspring hatching success, a result that is contrary to other published results comparing female reproductive success with repeated versus different partners. These results suggest that females that mate large numbers of times fail to gain additional genetic benefits from doing so.

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