Video: Cricket Weapon Doubles as Mate Catcher

Credit: Ethology, Estenia L. Haley and David A. Gray

Camel crickets (Pristoceuthophilus marmoratus) use the same appendage to make love and war. The wingless southern California insects battle other males by clamping them between their modified hind legs, which carry two large spines (see video). When the fighting is over, the crickets use the same appendage to grab and hold females for mating, researchers report online this month in Ethology. Males preferentially employ the tactic on non-virgin females, who don't show as much interest in mating as virgin females. That helps them increase their mating success, with both willing and unwilling females.

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