Description of Acoustic Characters and Stridulatory Pars Stridens of Nicrophorus (Coleoptera: Silphidae): A Comparison of Eight North American Species

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2013
Authors:Hall, CL, Mason, AC, Howard, DR, Padhi, A, Smith, RJ
Journal:Annals of the Entomological Society of America
Pagination:661 - 669
Date Published:Jan-09-2013
Keywords:bioacoustics, burying beetle, Nicrophorus, sound production, stridulation

Insects make use of sound in a variety of behavioral and reproductive contexts. Acoustic signals are known to serve in defense, sexual advertisement, prey location, and in cooperative activities such as offspring care and group foraging. In airborne signals produced by insects, information associated with species identiÞcation is often related to the temporal structure of the sound, while spectral quality is more closely associated with intraspeciÞc variation. The Nicrophorine burying beetles (Insecta: Coleoptera: Silphidae) are a group known to produce sound through dorso-ventro stridulation, but the bioacoustics of this group remains understudied. Here, we examine the stridu- latory sound produced by eight North American species of Nicrophorus burying beetles, testing the hypothesis that interspeciÞc differences will be encoded in temporal characteristics of the sound, and that signal divergence will be explained by one of three mechanisms: selection as an intraspeciÞc signal, selection for interspeciÞc aposematism, or random divergence through drift. We digitally recorded stridulation in each species, and analyzed recordings to describe each in respect to four spectral and eight temporal acoustic characters. All species produced a low amplitude biphastic sound pulse consisting of from 58 to 126 syllables, and exhibiting weak dominant frequencies (5.8Ð12.7 kHz). Collapsing the 12 variables into three rotated factors using principal component analysis, we found no sex-related differences in sound, but signiÞcant interspecies divergence in respect to all three factors. We constructed a phylogeny for the group based on the morphology of the stridulatory structures and the acoustic characters, and found weak support for an intraspeciÞc signal divergence model.

Short Title:ann. entom. soc. amer.
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