By Sophie Bushwick
(Click here for original article.)
Jiminy Cricket may not actually hold the door open for his lady friends, but he can still be chivalrous: researchers from the University of Exeter discovered that when threatened by predators, a male field cricket will protect his mate by letting her enter their burrow first. The work is published in the journal Current Biology. [Rolando RodrÃguez-MuÃ±oz, Amanda Bretman and Tom Tregenza, "Guarding Males Protect Females from Predation in a Wild Insect"]
Using microphones and infrared cameras, researchers monitored a Spanish cricket population for three seasons. They identified each cricket with a tiny numbered nametag and a DNA fingerprint taken from a sample of its leg. This Big Brother scrutiny revealed the details of cricket relationships, from their courtship time to how they conducted their affairs.
Previous studies of cricketsâ behavior examined them in a lab setting, where males acted aggressively towards other males and mates alike. (Read more...)