Male Crickets Feed Females to Ensure Complete Sperm Transfer

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  10 Feb 1984:
Vol. 223, Issue 4636, pp. 609-610
DOI: 10.1126/science.223.4636.609


The spermatophore transferred by the male decorated cricket Gryllodes supplicans to the female during copulation includes a large gelatinous portion (spermatophylax), which the female removes and feeds on immediately after mating. Females usually removed and ate the smaller sperm-containing portion (ampulla) within 1 to 7 minutes after fully consuming or losing the spermatophylax. Complete sperm transfer requires that the ampulla remain attached for a minimum of 50 minutes; this corresponds to the average time at which females actually removed ampullae, 52.0 ± 2.2 minutes after mating. These results indicate that nuptial feeding of the female cricket functions to deter females from removing the sperm ampulla before sperm transfer is complete.