What does cricket mating tell us about human behavior?

While Warren Beatty may have seduced over 12,000 women, he only had 4 children; Jon Gosselin had 8.  Contrary to laboratory findings, dominant male crickets had fewer mates than weaker crickets, but both left an equal number of offspring. This may be evidence that the more dominate crickets had more regular mates while the weaker crickets had to take what they could get.

Song wasn't an important factor for the stronger, bigger crickets when it came to mating; females simply prefer stronger males. The male cricket's song is a kind of talent that subordinate crickets use to seduce mates. In pick-up artist terms, singing is a value demonstration. Singing for these crickets is no different than a socially awkward kid learning to play guitar to get girls. Look at how well this seduction tactic worked for John Mayer who is one of the most notorious ladies men in Hollywood.

While females had between 0 - 8 surviving offspring, males had anywhere between 0 - 17. This is similar to the mating numbers of other polygynous species in which males have many mates. As the British geneticist Angus Bateman hypothesized, females are limited in their reproductive success by the number of eggs they can produce while males are limited by the number of mates they can attract. We've all heard stories of men getting two women pregnant at the same time. And just like in our culture, a few male crickets had a disproportionately large number of offspring.

Interestingly enough, this study found no gender gap in the number of mates. The crickets had regular partners they mated with 40 times. However, the females often sneaked away for sexual encounters with other males before returning to their usual mates.

Read more at  Sciencemag.org and News24.com

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When it comes to natural selection and mating, crickets are more similar to humans than you might think.

In a new study published in the journal Science, biologists from the University of Exeter installed 64 motion-sensitive, infrared video cameras in a meadow in northern Spain to monitor a population of flightless field crickets (Gryllus campestris). The scientists captured over 250,000 hours of footage of these tagged creatures and analyzed their mating behaviors against their reproductive success.

A cricket's ability to seduce, his sexual prowess, doesn't always equate to a large number of offspring. The same is true for humans.

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