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Why we chose crickets

Submitted by kheredia on Tue, 11/19/2019 - 20:02

Hypothesis: Light will disrupt courting activity in male crickets, causing them to exhibit fewer mating/competitive behaviors when in the presence of a female cricket and another male cricket.

We chose this hypothesis because when we were working on crickets for lab a few weeks ago, we noticed that the crickets were looking to hide under the paper provided inside of their tanks, and this sparked the question of whether their activity slows down based on how much light is available to them. We know that Light pollution is a big problem, so we wondered how it will affect mating behavior in an animal that we know normally mates at night, and found that their activity is decreased in a study done on crickets being exposed to longterm light conditions.

In another study, on the circadian rhythms of crickets, it was found that they are entrained to be active during the “dark period” which further supports our hypothesis that light disrupts their activity. Our goal is to observe whether males are more active, i.e. displaying behaviors of competition towards another male, or courting a female, in light or dark conditions, and determine of exposure light is the cause of this- which is why we are also including a reference describing types of courtship behaviors in male, in particular, chirping.

We are also referencing our lab we did in class a few weeks ago, where we observed aggressive territorial behaviors in winner versus losers in crickets, as a source of what kinds of behaviors males display when they are competing with another male. Finally, our last reference helps us to better understand when crickets begin mating calls. The reference explains the variances in times and intensity for male mating calls during the evening, which helps our hypothesis further by demonstrating that the light presented in one of the tanks during our experiment will disrupt the courting activity and deter males from calling for females.