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Frequency as a releaser in the courtship song of two crickets, Gryllus bimaculatus (de Geer) and Teleogryllus oceanicus: a neuroethological analysis

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  1. 1.

    The courtship behavior of male field crickets, Gryllus bimaculatus (De Geer) and Teleogryllus oceanicus, is a complex, multimodal behavioral act that involves acoustic signals (a courtship song; Fig. 1A,B). The dominant frequency is 4.5 kHz for T. oceanicus song (Fig. 1A) and 13.5 kHz for G. bimaculatus (Fig. IB).

  2. 2.

    When courting males are deprived of their courtship song by wing amputation, their courtship success declines markedly but is restored when courting is accompanied by tape-recordings of their courtship songs or a synthetic courtship song with only the dominant frequency of the natural song; other naturally occurring frequency components are ineffective for restoring mating success (Figs. 4, 5).

  3. 3.

    It has been suggested that an identified auditory interneuron, AN2, plays a critical role in courtship success. Chronic recordings of AN2 in an intact, tethered female show that AN2's response to the natural courtship song and synthesized songs at 4.5 and 13.5 kHz is similar in T. oceanicus. By contrast, in G. bimaculatus, AN2's response to the natural courtship song and synthesized song at 13.5 kHz, but not at 4.5 kHz, is similar (Figs. 2,3).

  4. 4.

    In behavioral experiments, playback of a 30 kHz synthetic courtship song in G. bimaculatus does not restore courtship success, yet this same stimulus elicits as strong a response from AN2 as does the normal courtship song (Fig. 6). Thus, contrary to earlier work by others, we conclude AN2 is not, by itself, a critical neural link in the courtship behavior of these two species of crickets.

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Libersat, F., Murray, J.A. & Hoy, R.R. Frequency as a releaser in the courtship song of two crickets, Gryllus bimaculatus (de Geer) and Teleogryllus oceanicus: a neuroethological analysis. J Comp Physiol A 174, 485–494 (1994).

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