Tree crickets (Oecanthinae) are common singing insects you may hear on late summer nights in Ontario. Males sing to attract females by rubbing together specialized structures on their wings. In many other species where males produce a long-distance sexual signal like this, males are usually the subject of greater predation. However, in tree crickets, females are more often the victim of a very efficient predatory wasp, Isodontia mexicana. This wasp hunts individual crickets, paralyzes them with a sting, and carries them back to their nest as live food for their offspring. We are investigating why this wasp hunts more females than males, and how wasp predation can impact the evolution of the crickets’ behaviour and morphology.
Principal Investigator: Darryl Gwynne
Researcher: Kyla Ercit