Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 175, Issue 3, pp 349–361

Sound radiation in a cicada: the role of different structures

  • P. J. Fonseca
  • A. V. Popov
Original Papers

DOI: 10.1007/BF00192994

Cite this article as:
Fonseca, P.J. & Popov, A.V. J Comp Physiol A (1994) 175: 349. doi:10.1007/BF00192994


Sound radiation was studied in males of Tympanistalna gastrica St»l during a spontaneous song with the characteristics of the conspecific calling song, which was elicited as an after effect of brain stimulation. The song contains two different kinds of sound pulses: 1) loud clicks and 2) soft pulses, presenting different spectra.

The timbals, abdomen, tympana, folded membranes and opercula were tested as potential radiators of the song. The experiments included: 1) probe microphone measurements of the spectra of loud clicks and soft pulses in several positions around the animal and close to the body surface; 2) measurements of the spectra before and after covering with vaseline different structures that might be relevant to the radiation of the song, and manipulations of the size and shape of the abdominal and thoracic portions of the tracheal air sac; 3) laser vibrometry measurements in different parts of the body, both during singing and external sound stimulation.

The data obtained demonstrate that several structures contribute differently to the radiation of clicks and soft pulses: 1) The timbals are the main radiators at frequencies around the dominant spectral peak, 10–11 kHz in clicks and 12–13 kHz in soft pulses; 2) The tympana are important in radiation of frequencies below and above the timbal peak, especially during the generation of soft pulses; 3) The abdomen is more activated during the generation of clicks, and is more important in the radiation of low frequencies around 5 kHz.

Manipulations of the body cavities showed that neither the thoracic nor the abdominal portions of the air sac are critical for the song tuning. The large abdominal cavity do not seem to work as a Helmholtz resonator. We found no evidence that resonances inside this cavity should play an important role in enhancing sound radiation in T. gastrica.

Key words

CicadaTympanistalna gastricaSound productionRadiationCalling songBrain stimulation

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. J. Fonseca
    • 1
    • 2
  • A. V. Popov
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Dept. Zoologia e AntropologiaFac. Ciêncas de LisboaLisboaPortugal
  2. 2.Institute of BiologyOdense UniversityDenmark
  3. 3.Sechenov Institute of Evolutionary Physiology and BiochemistrySt. PetersburgRussia
  4. 4.Institute of BiologyOdense UniversityDenmark