Sound production in primitive Orthoptera from Western Australia: sounds used in defence and social communication in Ametrus sp. and Hadrogryllacris sp.(Gryllacrididae: Orthoptera)

L. Field, Win Bailey

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    Sound production in two undescribed species of Gryllacrididae belonging to the genus Ametrus sp. and Hadrogryllacris sp. takes the form of defensive stridulation and intra-specific signalling by drumming on the substrate. Defensive stridulation is produced as part of an elaborate visual display, by femoro-tergal stridulation. Two rows of spines on abdominal tergites II and III of both species are rubbed by an elongate area of tubercules on the inner femoral surface of the hind legs. Analysis showed that the motion of the leg relative to the abdomen involves a complex counter-rotation of the leg between leg and abdomen. The defensive display may be performed in day light. Social signalling in both species occurs after dark, and involves drumming on the substrate by both hind legs in loose synchrony. Drumming is rhythmic and species' specific. Males respond to playback calls and females duet with males. The evolution of this calling behaviour is discussed and comparisons are made with the other primitive ensiferan family known to produce both tergo-abdominal defensive stridulation and femoral drumming behaviour, the Stenopelmatidae.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1127-1141
    JournalJournal of Natural History
    Publication statusPublished - 1997


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