Lincoln researchers examine the acoustic signals of new bush-cricket species

A student from the University of Lincoln’s School of Life Sciences has seen one of his undergraduate papers published in leading zoology journal.

Kallum Buxton, who worked with Dr Fernando Montealegre-Z and Phd student Fabio Sarria, studied the acoustic signals produced by a new species of bush-cricket from the rainforest of Colombia.

Kallum and Fabio are joint first authors on the paper ‘Wing mechanics, vibrational and acoustic communication in a new bush-cricket species of the genus Copiphora from Colombia’, published recently in Zoologischer Anzeiger – A Journal of Comparative Zoology.

They studied the vibratory and acoustic signals and the biophysics of wing resonance in C. vigorosa – the new species of bush-cricket.

Male bush-crickets produce acoustic signals by wing stridulation to call females. Several species also alternate vibratory signals with acoustic calls for intraspecific communication, a way to reduce risk of detection by eavesdropping predators. Both modes of communication have been documented mostly in neotropical species. The researchers studied vibratory signals and wing resonances and used ultrasound-sensitive equipment to record acoustic calls.

They discovered a new species of bush-cricket, which they named Copiphora vigorosa. The researchers noticed that males of this species do not sing actively as other bush-crickets. They produce acoustic signals very rarely (less than one call per hour), however, they prefer to call females by tremulations (vibrational movements of their body on a substrate). The results imply that the rare acoustic calls, when produced, are very noisy and conspicuous to eavesdropping predators, therefore males have adopted substrate vibrations as an alternative channel of communication. Although substrate vibration is a common characteristic in arthropods, this behaviour in bush-crickets is poorly understood. The article shows preliminary data that suggests this species is under strong predation pressure and males seem to avoid acoustic signalling.

To read the published paper inn full, visit: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0044523116300584

(DOI information: 10.1016/j.jcz.2016.04.008)