ScienceShot: Crickets Risk Their Lives for Mates

In the insect equivalent of fighting a duel to protect a lady's honor, male crickets risk their lives to safeguard their mates from danger. Field crickets (Gryllus campestris) snuggle down in burrows either on their own or with a mate. When pairs hang out outside their holes, males tend to sit farther away from the entrance, letting females stay closer in. That makes it easier for the buzzing females to duck away from oncoming predators like magpies; males, however, become an easy lunch. Still, the bugs are no knights in shining armor, researchers report online today in Current Biology. Males that stick close to females are savvy guards, chasing away other would-be suitors, claiming more mating opportunities for themselves. So for crickets, at least, it pays to be a gentleman.

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