Developmental plasticity of mating calls enables acoustic communication in diverse environments

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2008
Authors:O. M. Beckers, Schul J.
Journal:Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Date Published:June
Keywords:bioacoustics, communication, na, orthoptera, plasticity, song, tettigoniidae

10.1098/rspb.2007.1765 Male calls of the katydid exhibit substantial developmental plasticity in two parameters: (i) calls of winter males are continuous and lack the verse structure of summer calls and (ii) at equal temperatures, summer males produce calls with a substantially higher pulse rate than winter males. We raised female under conditions that reliably induced either summer or winter phenotype and tested their preferences for the call parameters that differ between summer and winter males. Neither generation was selective for the presence of verses, but females had strong preferences for pulse rates: only a narrow range of pulse rates was attractive. The attractive ranges did not differ between summer and winter females. Both male pulse rate and female preference for pulse rate changed with ambient temperature, but female preference changed more than the male calls. As a result, the summer call was attractive only at 25°C, whereas the slower winter call was attractive only at 20°C. Thus, developmental plasticity of male calls compensates for differences in temperature dependency between calls and preferences and enables the communication system to function in heterogeneous environments. The potential role of call plasticity during the invasion of new habitats is discussed.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith