Female bushcrickets fuel their metabolism with male nuptial gifts

Christian C. Voigt, Antje S. Kretzschmar, John R. Speakman, Gerlind U. C. Lehmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


In many arthropods, such as bushcrickets, males donate protein-rich nuptial gifts-so-called spermatophores-to females, which females ingest while the sperm enter the female's reproductive tract. Previously, it was shown that females route spermatophore nutrients over the course of hours and days to egg production or body synthesis. We investigated whether female bushcrickets fuel their metabolism with spermatophores immediately after consumption. We fed two male groups diets that were either enriched or depleted in C-13, and then tracked the isotopic changes in exhaled breath in female bushcrickets after spermatophore consumption. Within 3 hours, the stable carbon isotope ratio (delta C-13) of female breath converged on the ratio of the male donor of the nuptial gift. This supports the idea that females quickly routed nutrients to metabolism, receiving immediate benefits from spermatophore feeding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)476-478
Number of pages3
JournalBiology Letters
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 23 Oct 2008


  • female choice
  • homeostasis
  • nutrient routing
  • reproductive output
  • spermatophore size
  • sexual conflict
  • mated female
  • orthoptera
  • insects
  • tettigoniidae
  • katydids
  • investment
  • TAXA


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