Generation of extreme ultrasonics in rainforest katydids

Montealegre-Z, Fernando and Morris, Glenn K. and Mason, Andrew C. (2006) Generation of extreme ultrasonics in rainforest katydids. Journal of Experimental Biology, 209 (24). pp. 4923-4937. ISSN 0022-0949

Full content URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/jeb.02608

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Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive

Abstract

The calling song of an undescribed Meconematinae katydid (Tettigoniidae) from South America consists of trains of short, separated pure-tone sound pulses at 129 kHz (the highest calling note produced by an Arthropod). Paradoxically, these extremely high-frequency sound waves are produced by a low-velocity movement of the stridulatory forewings. Sound production during a wing stroke is pulsed, but the wings do not pause in their closing, requiring that the scraper, in its travel along the file, must do so to create the pulses. We hypothesize that during scraper pauses, the cuticle behind the scraper is bent by the ongoing relative displacement of the wings, storing deformation energy. When the scraper slips free it unbends while being carried along the file and its deformation energy contributes to a more powerful, higher-rate, one-tooth one-wave sound pulse, lasting no more than a few waves at 129 000 Hz. Some other katydid species make pure-tone ultrasonic pulses. Wing velocities and carriers among these pure-tone species fall into two groups: (1) species with ultrasonic carriers below 40 kHz that have higher calling frequencies correlated with higher wing-closing velocities and higher tooth densities: for these katydids the relationship between average tooth strike rate and song frequency approaches 1:1, as in cricket escapement mechanisms; (2) a group of species with ultrasonic carriers above 40 kHz (that includes the Meconematinae): for these katydids closing wing velocities are dramatically lower and they make short trains of pulses, with intervening periods of silence greater than the duration of the pulses they separate. This signal form may be the signature of scraper-stored elastic energy

Keywords:Orthoptera Tettigoniidae, Ultrasound, Bioacoustics, Elastic, Stridulation, Resilin, Katydid
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C300 Zoology
C Biological Sciences > C100 Biology
C Biological Sciences > C340 Entomology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:12825
Deposited On:03 Jan 2014 11:30

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