Love bite

Published: Thursday 15 June 1995

The tabour of love for a courting male cricket often involves providing his mate with ample dinner - a large blob of a gelatinous substance known as spermatophylax. Besides its high nutritional value which helps the female lay more eggs, the blob serves to keep the female engrossed test she mate with rival males before the first one's sperm get a chance to work.

However, the decorated cricket, Gryllodes sigillatus, appears to not only offer a smaller blob, but its nutritional value is also questionable. Michael Wills and Scott Sakahik of Illinois State University, USA, found that females laid the same number of eggs regardless of how much of the blob they ate (BBC Wildlilfire Vol 13, No 4). They say that the only worth of the blob for this desert-inhabiting cricket might be the globule's water content.

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