Nutcracker camel crickets

Pristoceuthophilus arizonae (Orthoptera: Raphidophoridae), large male

Pristoceuthophilus arizonae, photo Jim Hogue

Not all types of crickets use song to attract mates.  In about 2004 I got interested in some local camel crickets after finding some males with weird bent hind legs in my yard.  Turns out, males use those legs like old fashioned nutcrackers to fight with other males and also, sometimes, to hold females for mating, apparently against the female’s will.  It seems as though loser males in poor condition are more likely to be the ones that attempt to force females to mate. This has been the MS research of two students, Lauren Conroy and Lisseth Haley. You can watch videos of males fighting, as well as ‘normal‘  and ‘apparently forced‘ mating.

Current Projects:

We are a bit stuck at the moment as we are not able to rear these crickets in the lab, but if we can figure that out, we’d like to look at paternity as a function of male behavior and morphology.

Papers about camel crickets:

Conroy, L. P. & Gray, D. A. 2015. Male armaments and reproductive behavior in “Nutcracker” camel crickets (Rhaphidophoridae, Pristoceuthophilus). Insects 2015: (6) 85-99.

Conroy, L. P. & Gray, D. A. 2014. Forced copulation as a conditional alternative strategy in camel crickets. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 68: 1431-1439.

Haley, E. L. & Gray, D. A. 2013. Abdominal tubercles of adult male camel crickets, Pristoceuthophilus marmoratus Rehn (Orthoptera:Rhaphidophoridae), produce cues attractive to females. Journal of Insect Behavior 26: 804-811.

Haley, E. L. & Gray, D. A. 2012. Mating behavior and dual-purpose armaments in a camel cricket. Ethology 118: 49-56.



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