Can spectral cues contribute to species separation in closely related grasshoppers?
- Cite this article as:
- Meyer, J. & Elsner, N. J Comp Physiol A (1997) 180: 171. doi:10.1007/s003590050038
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The acridid grasshoppers Chorthippus biguttulus and Ch. mollis, which are closely related and often sympatric species, were compared intra- and interspecifically with regard to the spectra of their calling and courtship songs and of the sound-induced vibrations of the tympanal membrane, as well as the threshold curves of the tympanal nerve. In the low-frequency range but not in the ultrasound region, the maxima of these various curves fall at distinctly different frequencies in the two species. It is shown that the low-frequency sensitivity of the auditory system in both species, especially in females, is well matched to the conspecific song spectra but not to those of the heterospecific songs. Whether these characteristics actually contribute to species discrimination remains to be determined by behavioural tests.