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Vibrational Communication in Two Sympatric Species of Mantophasmatodea (Heelwalkers)

  • Monika J. B. Eberhard
  • Mike D. Picker
Article

Abstract

The communication via percussion of the abdomen on the substrate for species recognition and mate location of males and females of two sympatric species of the recently described insect order Mantophasmatodea (Heelwalkers) was investigated. Each sex produced a single and distinctive call. The female call consisted of repeated single pulses, whereas the more complex male call comprised repeated pulse trains. The calls of males and females of the two species were of similar general structure, but differed in most temporal characters such as pulse and pulse train repetition time. In behavioral playback experiments females reacted to the call of conspecific males by calling and decreasing locomotion. When stimulated with the call of the heterospecific, sympatric male, females showed no reaction. Males exhibited abdominal rubbing, high tapping rates, increased activity (both movement and active searching) as well as characteristic searching behavior at branch nodes, when presented with the conspecific female call. Being stimulated with the playback of the heterospecific female call and the conspecific male call respectively, males responded with less intense locomotor and searching behavior. The drumming behavior in the control situation (no playback) suggests that males sometimes call in the absence of other individuals.

Keywords

Mantophasmatodea vibrational communication mating behavior mate location and recognition 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We are grateful to Jonathan Colville and Anthony Roberts (University of Cape Town) for their assistance in the collection of material. We would also like to thank two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on the manuscript. Cape Nature and Northern Cape Provincial Administration are thanked for permits 420/2002 and 054/2003 allowing collection of Mantophasmatodea. The project was financially supported by a F105-B Forschungsstipendium, Universität Wien.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria
  2. 2.Zoology DepartmentUniversity of Cape TownRondeboschSouth Africa

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