Auditory acuity in the orientation behaviour of the bushcricket Pachysagella australis walker (Orthoptera, Tettigoniidae, Saginae)

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1984
Authors:Bailey, WJ, Stephen, RO
Journal:Animal Behaviour
Pagination:816 - 829
Date Published:Jan-08-1984

The female tettigoniid Pachysagella australis (Saginae) orients to the call of the conspecific with an angular acuity of ±5°. This acuity is mediated by sound entering to the tympanic receptors through the auditory trachea and the slits exterior to the tympanic membranes. The phonokinetic response of females was filmed in an arena. The slit system was blocked on both anterior and posterior ports with the effect that the female spiralled towards the sound source; blocking the posterior slit alone reduced the auditory acuity as did the partial occlusion of the fore slit, but in both cases the female located the male. Complete blocking of the auditory spiracle caused the insect to spiral towards the unoperated side, whereas reducing the sound input to one side by some 8–12 dB, by plugging the auditory bulla with compacted cotton wool, did not substantially affect the orientation pattern of the insect. Ablation of the tympanic organ on one side caused the female to move in a circular pattern to the unoperated side. A hypothesis is formulated whereby the female, when actively orienting to the calling male, may use the slit port system to gain a high degree of auditory acuity to sound in front of her body axis. When off target she may use the less accurate spiracular input system. This system, with its greater sensitivity to high frequency sounds, may function as an effective anti-predator warning system.

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