Female crickets fall for louder songs sung by younger males

London, Jan 15 (ANI): Female crickets fall for the higher-pitched and louder songs sung by younger males, suggests a study.

The study has challenged a well-established theory that females prefer older males because their longevity shows they have good genes, reports New Scientist.

Luke Verburgt of the University of Pretoria, South Africa and colleagues recorded the mating songs of the 25 male field crickets (Gryllus bimaculatus), when they were young (10 to 12 days old) and older (48 to 50 days old).

They analysed the songs' traits, the length of the syllables and the song's frequency and found that nearly all the traits changed with age.

Meanwhile, to test if females preferred the older or younger songs, the scientists used software to mix recordings and create 'average' old and young songs.

Two speakers were then placed on opposite sides of a box and simultaneously played the average songs to 21 females four times.

It was found that females chose the young male song a 90 percent of the time.

Verburgt said females probably prefer younger crickets because damage associated with ageing can mutate DNA and reduce sperm quality.

Trish Fleming, a behavioural biologist at Murdoch University in Australia, said, "Sperm ages rapidly and older testes are not as good as younger testes in producing lots of viable sperm."

As a result, younger males are more likely to be capable of fertilising all a female cricket's eggs. (ANI)

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