Cricket Behavior

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I was given 2 (subadult) male and 2 female crickets (Acheta domestica), to observe and collect behavioral data for. I created a habitat in a small plastic pet carrier with a plastic bag as a barrier in the middle, physically separating the 2 sexes, but allowing them to see each other.

Questions: 1) How do crickets create their characteristic chirps? 2) How do male and female crickets interact with one another?

Hypotheses: 1) Crickets create the chirping sound by rubbing their leg against their wing. 2) Males and females will attempt to physically interact with one another.

Predictions for Hypothesis 1: I think that male and female crickets will attempt to reach one another (physically) when they see each other through the barrier. The other possibility is that male and female crickets will ignore one another because they can see one another and they don’t ‘search’ because they are already in close proximity.

Observations: Crickets rub their wings together to chirp, not their leg and wing. Males and females did not try to reach one another through the clear barrier.

Here is an ethogram describing behaviors that I saw.

Locomotion: walking/climbing around habitat with no apparent purpose

Idling: not moving at all

Chirping: (males only) raising wings up off of the body and rubbing them back and forth against each other to create a high-pitched sound (There were 2 observed chirp types, one loud and one quiet. The loud one was only observed when the males were separated in their initial transport containers. The quiet one was observed when they were in the habitat and able to see the females.)

Foraging: consuming or physically associating with a food or water source

Rubbing: using the forearms to rub the antennae and head and/or using the hindlegs to rub the abdomen

Jumping: a powerful jump powered by the hindlegs; happened when handling the animals and  moving the container around

Excreting waste at the posterior of the animal

Egg laying: (females only) manipulating eggs (small rice-grain shaped, white translucent objects) with the long ovipositor

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