Ultrasonic courtship song in the Asian corn borer moth, Ostrinia furnacalis

Abstract

Although sex pheromone communication in the genus Ostrinia (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) has been studied intensively, acoustic communication in this genus has not been explored. In this study, we report that male-produced ultrasound serves as a courtship song in the Asian corn borer moth, O. furnacalis. Upon landing close to a pheromone-releasing female, a male showed a series of courtship behaviors involving emission of ultrasound. The sounds were produced when the wings were vibrated quickly in an upright position. The male song was composed of chirps, i.e., groups of pulses (duration of a chirp = 58.9 ms, 8.8 pulses/chirp), with a broadband frequency of 25–100 kHz. In flight tunnel experiments, deaf and hearing females showed a significant difference in the incidence of three behavioral responses to courting males, i.e., immediate acceptance, acceptance after walking, and rejection. Deaf females showed more ‘rejection’ and less ‘acceptance after walking’ than hearing females, indicating that the detection of male-produced ultrasound plays an important role in the acceptance of a male. The findings are discussed in the context of exploitation of receiver bias and mate choice.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

References

  1. Acharya L, McNeil JN (1998) Predation risk and mating behavior: the responses of moths to bat-like ultrasound. Behav Ecol 9:552–558

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Agee HR (1969) Acoustic sensitivity of the European corn borer moth, Ostrinia nubilalis. Ann Entomol Soc Am 62:1364–1367

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Ando T, Inomata S, Yamamoto M (2004) Lepidopteran sex pheromones. Top Curr Chem 239:51–96

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Conner WE (1999) ‘Un chant d’appel amoureux’: acoustic communication in moths. J Exp Biol 202:1711–1723

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. Dahm KH, Meyer D, Finn WE, Reinhold V, Röller H (1971) The olfactory and auditory mediated sex attraction in Achroia grisella (Fabr.). Naturwissenschaften 58:265–266

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Fullard JH (1998) The sensory coevolution of moths and bats. In: Hoy RR, Popper AN, Fay RR (eds) Comparative hearing: insects. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, pp 279–326

    Google Scholar 

  7. Greenfield MD (2002) Signalers and receivers: mechanisms and evolution of arthropod communication. Oxford Univ. Press, New York

    Google Scholar 

  8. Greenfield MD, Weber T (2000) Evolution of ultrasonic signaling in wax moths: discrimination of ultrasonic mating calls from bat echolocation signals and the exploitation of an anti-predator receiver bias by sexual advertisement. Ethol Ecol Evol 12:259–279

    Google Scholar 

  9. Heller K-G, Krahe R (1994) Sound production and hearing in the pyralid moth Symmoracma minoralis. J Exp Biol 187:101–111

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Huber F, Thorson J (1985) Cricket auditory communication. Sci Am 253:60–68

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Ishikawa Y, Takanashi T, Kim C, Hoshizaki S, Tatsuki S, Huang Y (1999) Ostrinia spp. in Japan: their host plants and sex pheromones. Entomol Exp Appl 91:237–244

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Jang Y, Greenfield MD (1996) Ultrasonic communication and sexual selection in wax moths: female choice based on energy and asynchrony of male signals. Anim Behav 51:1095–1106

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Mehta CR, Patel NR (1983) A network algorithm for performing Fisher’s exact test in r × c contingency tables. J Am Stat Assoc 78:427–434

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Sanderford MV, Conner WE (1995) Acoustic courtship communication in Syntomeida epilais Wlk. (Lepidoptera: Arctiidae, Ctenuchinae). J Insect Behav 8:19–31

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Sanderford MV, Coro F, Conner WE (1998) Courtship behavior in Empyreuma affinis Roths. (Lepidoptera, Arctiidae, Ctenuchinae): acoustic signals and tympanic organ response. Naturwissenschaften 85:82–87

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Siemers BM, Kalko EKV, Schnitzler HU (2001) Echolocation behavior and signal plasticity in the neotropical bat Myotis nigricans (Schinz, 1821) (Vespertilionidae): a convergent case with European species of Pipistrellus? Behav Ecol Sociobiol 50:317–328

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Skals N, Anderson P, Kanneworff M, Löfstedt C, Surlykke A (2005) Her odours make him deaf: crossmodal modulation of olfaction and hearing in a male moth. J Exp Biol 208:595–601

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Spangler HG (1988) Moth hearing, defense, and communication. Annu Rev Entomol 33:59–81

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Spangler HG, Greenfield MD, Takessian A (1984) Ultrasonic mate calling in the lesser wax moth. Physiol Entomol 9:87–95

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

We thank Sugihiko Hoshizaki and four anonymous reviewers for the comments on the manuscript. This work was supported by Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research No. 16208005 from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and by the Danish Research Agency. The experiments comply with the current laws in Japan and Denmark where they were performed.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Yukio Ishikawa.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Nakano, R., Ishikawa, Y., Tatsuki, S. et al. Ultrasonic courtship song in the Asian corn borer moth, Ostrinia furnacalis . Naturwissenschaften 93, 292–296 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00114-006-0100-7

Download citation

Keywords

  • Virgin Female
  • Courtship Song
  • Chirp Rate
  • Tetradecenyl Acetate
  • Flight Tunnel