Plasticity of the Phonotactic Selectiveness of Four Species of Chirping Crickets (Gryllidae): Implications for Call Recognition

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Call recognition, L3/AN2 neurone, Neuronal filtering, Phonotaxis, Plasticity, Selective behaviour


Earlier studies of phonotaxis by female crickets describe this selective behavioural response as being important in the females' choices of conspecific males, leading to reproduction. In the present study, moderate (30+) to very large data sets of phonotactic behaviour by female Acheta domesticus L., Gryllus bimaculatus DeGeer, Gryllus pennsylvanicus Burmeister and Gryllus veletis Alexander demonstrate substantially greater plasticity in the behavioural choices, as made by females of each species, for the syllable periods (SP) of model calling songs (CS) than has been previously described. Phonotactic choices by each species range from the very selective (i.e. responding to only one or two SPs) to very unselective (i.e. responding to all SPs presented). Some females that do not respond to all SPs prefer a range that includes either the longest or shortest SP tested, which fall outside the range of SPs produced by conspecific males. Old female A. domesticus and G. pennsylvanicus are more likely to be unselective for SPs than are young females. Each species includes females that do not respond to a particular SP when responding to CSs with longer and shorter SPs. The results suggest that the plasticity of phonotactic behaviour collectively exhibited by the females of each species does not ensure that choices of a male's CS effectively focus the female's phonotactic responses on CSs that represent the conspecific male. The phonotactic behaviour collectively exhibited by females of each species does not readily fit any of the models for selective processing by central auditory neurones that have been proposed to underlie phonotactic choice. © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 The Royal Entomological Society.

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Physiological Entomology





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First Department