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Grand Teton National Park Report

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Male sagebrush crickets, Cyphoderris strepitans, offer an unusual nuptial food gift to females during copulation: females are permitted to feed on the hind wings of males and ingest hemolymph that flows from the resulting wounds. Johnson et al. (1999) showed that females experimentally precluded from wing feeding during initial copulations were more receptive to subsequent matings than females allowed to obtain a blood meal during initial copulations. The present study was designed to test the hypothesis that substances contained in the hemolymph of males and ingested by females during copulation function to decrease female receptivity to further matings, and thereby constitute male manipulation. To test this hypothesis, females were allowed to mate with an initial virgin male whose hind wings had been surgically removed to prevent wing feeding. Following these initial copulations, females were fed one of the following substances: male hemolymph, female hemolymph, or cricket Ringer's solution. Immediately following ingestion of the prescribed substances, females were given the opportunity to remate with novel virgin males whose hind wings had been left intact, and their latency to remating used as a measure of their sexual receptivity. There was no significant difference in latency to remating across treatments, suggesting no effect of hemolymph ingestion on female receptivity. The disparity between the results of the previous study (Johnson et al. 1999) and those of the present one suggest that the nutritional contribution derived through wing feeding, rather than male manipulation of female receptivity via substances in the hemolymph, affect remating propensity of female sagebrush crickets.