Aspects of acoustic interaction in the bushcricket genus Metrioptera (Orth., tettigonioidea)

McHugh, Roland (1971) Aspects of acoustic interaction in the bushcricket genus Metrioptera (Orth., tettigonioidea). Doctoral thesis, City of London Polytechnic.


This study Is an investigation into the behaviour of male bushcrickets of the genus Metrioptera. The situation investigated was that arising when the males of different species are placed in the same enclosure. A large number of such experiments was made and in each case observations were made on the movements of the insects, particularly with respect to one another. Their stridulations were recorded and subsequently analyzed with a view to detecting influences by the song of one insect upon song production by the other.

Attempts were made to relate the behaviour to that observed in similar circumstances when the two males belonged to the same species. In the latter cases, clearly recognisable aggression and homosexual courtship were much commoner, and there was a much stronger tendency for the defeated insect to return to the victor in one species, influence of pre-conflict caging conditions was studied.

Four species of Metrioptera were utilised: M. roeselii (HAGENBACH), M. brachyptera (L.), M. bicolor (PHILIPPI), and M. sepium (YERSIN). Nearly all of the experiments were confined to the first three species. It was found that the stridulations of roeselii and bicolor tended to inhibit song output in brachyptera. In interactions between roeselii and bicolor, either insect could be inhibited, but it was more often bicolor. A visit was made to a German locality where roeselii and bicolor occurred naturally in the same place, and inhibition effects were observed to take place between them in the field.

One brachyptera out of thirteen tested produced chirps with more syllables than usual, when exposed to roeselii song. It did not modify its chirps in response to bicolor song, perhaps because of the more discrete nature of the latter. The phenomenon is discussed in relation to Broughton'S (I965) discovery of song modification in Platycleis denticulata (PANZER).

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