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Male crickets show dominant, aggressive behavior to gain access to females and to protect their territory. Female crickets prefer to mate with dominant male crickets, even enticing two males to compete against each other. The female chooses to mate with the victor of the competition, proving the more dominant and the healthier of the two choices. Dominant males are frequently chosen due to their superior strength, condition and overall healthy display of good genes.
Dominant male fighting is a sequence of escalating behavior. Aggression levels escalate at different stages. Beginning with two male crickets in the presence of each other, without action between them. Mutual avoidance and lack of escalation into fighting, shows there is no purpose to show dominant aggression. At times, pre-established dominance in a male cricket will show its dominance by facing the other cricket directly. The opposing male cricket will retreat immediately without escalating the situation to fighting.
Antennal fencing involves both males facing each other. Antennal fencing begins with the two male opponents touching antennae to confirm that the other is a male cricket. Antennae also show readiness to spar and fighting ability. At times, one antenna will lash constantly at the opponent while the other antennae will have a slow scanning movement. During antennal fencing unilateral mandible spreading occurs.
Bilateral Mandible Spreading and Engagement
Both males involved in the confrontation will display spread mandibles, also known as bilateral mandible spreading. Soon after the spreading of mandibles, the two male crickets push against each other with force.
Wrestling includes both male crickets in an all-out fight. Both opponents interlock mandibles and push each other using their strength and power. The fight continues with both males continuing to struggle for position. Males will bite the rival opponent's body parts attempting to cause injury. The wrestling stage continues with repetitive actions, re-engaging and interlocking mandibles until there is a clear winner.
Throughout the entire structure of the male cricket fighting, a winner can be established immediately by one of the male crickets retreating from the fight during any of the stages. After one of the opponents retreats from the fight, the remaining male cricket is the victor. The winner produces a rivalry song and displays body-jerking movements in celebration. The victor of the cricket fight is the clear dominant male, the winner ultimately gains the territory or the female it was fighting for during the confrontation. The cricket fight is repeated with familiar and unfamiliar crickets throughout the habitat, each confrontation resulting in a winner.
- Oxford Journals: Male Dominance and Immunocompetence in a Field Cricket
- NCBI: Male Dominance Determines Female Egg Laying Rate In Crickets
- NCBI: Effects of Previous Experience On the Agonistic Behaviour of Male Crickets, Gryllus Bimaculatus
- Insected Arizona: Cricket Information
- Lab Chirps: Male Crickets Change Their Behavior When Watched By An Audience
- Texas University; Assessment Of Strength And Willingness To Fight During Aggressive Encounters In Crickets; Hans A. Hofmann, Klaus Schildberger
- Zedcor Wholly Owned/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images