Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Crickets' calling song hits the high notes

Date:
May 16, 2013
Source:
University of Lincoln
Summary:
Research has detailed how acoustic communication has evolved within a unique species of cricket which exploits extremely high frequency harmonics to interact.

Research has detailed how acoustic communication has evolved within a unique species of cricket which exploits extremely high frequency harmonics to interact.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Lincoln

Research has detailed how acoustic communication has evolved within a unique species of cricket which exploits extremely high frequency harmonics to interact.

A team investigating the mechanisms of sound generation in Lebinthini crickets discovered that the high-frequency singing (above 15 kHz) is a result of special adaptations in both wing resonances and stridulation (the rubbing together of a pair of specialised wings).

The sound emitted by crickets is produced by the stridulatory organ, a large vein running along the bottom of one wing, covered with "teeth," which is rubbed against a plectrum on the other wing. The cricket opens and closes the wings but stridulation only occurs during the closing phase. To produce a pure tone call (a musical song) the teeth of the file should be systematically organised. As this happens the cricket also holds its wings up and open, so the wing membranes can act as acoustical sails.

Dr Fernando Montealegre-Zapata, from the School of Life Sciences at the University of Lincoln, UK, said: "This research shows how a small group of crickets (the Lebinthini) have evolved to exploit high frequencies distinctly above that usually reported for crickets. Modern crickets ancestors appeared some 200 million years ago (mya), and since then seem to have used low frequency calls. Therefore most modern cricket species evolved to communicate at low frequencies (2-8 kHz) -- the human ear can detect between 20 and 20,000 kHz.

"The Lebinthini are a more recent group (30-40 mya) exploiting frequencies above the normal range of cricket singing (>10 kHz). What makes Lebinthini different is that they evolved stridulatory files with a high density of teeth. The stridulatory file is the first step of multiplication for sound production, and is therefore the first structure of the singing apparatus modified during evolution to reach high frequencies. Low frequency crickets usually exhibit files with a lower density of teeth."

The research team, which also involved academics from Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, and the University of Bristol, measured the fine-scale movements of the forewings during stridulation and the mechanical properties of the wings using high-speed videos and sensitive diodes and laser vibrometry. They discovered the detailed arrangement of wing resonances is responsible for the harmonic-rich composition of the calling song. This confirmed the Lebinthini evolved by exploiting high frequency resonances already existing in the wings, but not used by their ancestors.

A paper detailing how this group of crickets broadcast high-frequency songs has been published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

Dr Montealegre-Z added: "Evolution may favour the exploitation of high-frequency modes of vibration already existing in the natural wing of these crickets, and perhaps in their ancestors. Whatever the role the harmonics play in field crickets, if any, they have gained the function of dominant frequency in Lebinthini. As such, harmonics acquired enhanced radiating power, and a new role, distinct from the ancestral one, in the course of the evolution of acoustic communication in Lebinthini. These results provide an explanation of how such evolutionary pattern could be achieved mechanically."

Associate Professor at Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Tony Robillard, has been working on the evolution of acoustic communication in the Lebinthini tribe crickets for a number of years.

He added: "Studies on mechanisms of sound production continuously contribute to a better understanding of animal communication, its role in life history and its evolutionary pathways. In this case the wing structure and mechanical properties that often allow powered flight together constitute morphological constraints that may limit, yet also organise the potential evolution of cricket acoustic communication."

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=7Lv7YJGP_r8


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Lincoln. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. T. Robillard, F. Montealegre-Z, L. Desutter-Grandcolas, P. Grandcolas, D. Robert. Mechanisms of high-frequency song generation in brachypterous crickets and the role of ghost frequencies. Journal of Experimental Biology, 2013; 216 (11): 2001 DOI: 10.1242/%u200Bjeb.083964

Cite This Page:

University of Lincoln. "Crickets' calling song hits the high notes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130516063845.htm>.
University of Lincoln. (2013, May 16). Crickets' calling song hits the high notes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130516063845.htm
University of Lincoln. "Crickets' calling song hits the high notes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130516063845.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

AFP (Sep. 27, 2014) The drop in price of soy on the international market is a cause for concern in Argentina, as soybean exports are a major source of income for Latin America's third largest economy. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) A mama bear and her two cubs climb trees, wrestle and take naps in the backyard of a Monrovia, California home. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Crazy' Climate Forces Colombian Farmers to Adapt

'Crazy' Climate Forces Colombian Farmers to Adapt

AFP (Sep. 26, 2014) Once upon a time, farming was a blissfully low-tech business on Colombia's northern plains. Duration: 02:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins