Tree crickets (Oecanthinae) are common insects to hear on late summer nights in Ontario. Males sing to attract females by rubbing together specialized structures on their wings. In many 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, the grass-carrying 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. I am interested in why this wasp hunts more females than males, and how female-biased predation can impact the evolution of the crickets behaviour and morphology.
Kyla Ercit, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto