The outcome of fights between males can often represent an honest signal of male quality and are therefore widely used by females in mate choice. Indeed, female preference for males that win fights has been demonstrated in numerous animal taxa, and many recent studies have focused attention on how subordinate males compensate for this disadvantage through postcopulatory mating strategies, such as increased investment in their ejaculates. Here, using the Australian field cricket, Teleogryllus oceanicus, we show that rather than investing more in postcopulatory strategies, subordinate males invest in an alternative precopulatory mating approach. We find that subordinate males produce ejaculates of lower quality than dominate males and sire less offspring when competing for fertilizations. However, subordinate males upregulate the quantity of a number of cuticular compounds that have previously been shown to increase male mating success. Our results suggest that male reproductive success is likely to result from the interaction of multiple traits in this species. Copyright 2009, Oxford University Press.