In several bushcricket species, individual males synchronise their chirps during acoustic interactions. Synchrony is imperfect with the chirps of one male leading or lagging the other by a few milliseconds. Imperfect synchrony is believed to have evolved in response to female preferences for leading chirps. We investigated the mechanism underlying synchrony in the bushcricket species Mecopoda ‘Chirper’ from Southern India using playback experiments and simulations of pairwise interactions. We also investigated whether intrinsic chirp period is a good predictor of leading probability during interactions between males. The mechanism underlying synchrony in this species differs from previously reported mechanisms in that it involves both a change in the oscillator’s intrinsic rate and resetting on a chirp-by-chirp basis. The form of the phase response curve differs from those of previously reported firefly and bushcricket species including the closely related Malaysian species Mecopoda elongata. Simulations exploring oscillator properties showed that the outcome of pairwise interactions was independent of initial phase and alternation was not possible. Solo intrinsic chirp period was a relatively good predictor of leading probability. However, changing the intrinsic period during interactions could enable males with longer periods to lead during acoustic interactions.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Phase response curve
Sound pressure level
Alexander RD (1967) Acoustical communication in Arthropods. Annu Rev Entomol 12:495–526
Batschelet E (1981) Circular statistics in biology. Academic, New York
Bentley DR (1969) Intracellular activity in cricket neurons during generation of song patterns. Z vergl Physiol 62:267–283
Buck J (1988) Synchronous flashing of fireflies. II. Q Rev Biol 13:301–304
Buck J, Buck E, Case F, Hanson FE (1981) Control of flashing in fireflies. V. Pacemaker synchronisation in Pteroptyx cribellata. J Comp Physiol A 144:287–298
Ermentrout B (1991) An adaptive model for synchrony in the firefly Pteroptyx malaccae. J Math Biol 29:571–585
Forrest TG, Ariaratnam J, Strogatz SH (1998) Synchrony in cricket calling songs: models of coupled biological oscillators. In: Proceedings of the 16th International Congress on Acoustics and the 135th meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, Seattle, USA, pp 689–690
Frank H, Altheon SC (1994) Testing hypotheses about population means. In: Statistics concepts and applications. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 380–452
Greenfield MD (1994) Cooperation and conflict in the evolution of signal interactions. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 25:97–126
Greenfield MD, Roizen I (1993) Katydid synchronous chorusing is an evolutionarily stable outcome of female choice. Nature 364:618–620
Greenfield MD, Tourtellot MK, Snedden WA (1997) Precedence effects and the evolution of chorusing. Proc R Soc B 264:1355–1361
Hanson FE (1978) Comparative study of firefly pacemakers. Fed Proc 37:2158–2164
Hartbauer M, Krautzer S, Steiner K, Römer H (2005) Mechanisms for synchrony and alternation in song interactions of the bushcricket Mecopoda elongata (Tettigoniidae: Orthoptera). J Comp Physiol A 191:175–188
Jones MDR (1974) The effect of acoustic signals on the chirp rhythm in the bushcricket Pholidoptera griseoaptera. J Exp Biol 61:345–355
Minckley RL, Greenfield MD, Tourtellot MK (1995) Chorus structure in tarbush grasshoppers: inhibition, selective phonoresponse and signal competition. Anim Behav 50:579–594
Mirollo RE, Strogatz SH (1990) Synchronization of pulse-coupled biological oscillators. SIAM J Appl Math 50:1645–1662
Nityananda V, Balakrishnan R (2006) A diversity of songs among morphologically indistinguishable katydids of the genus Mecopoda (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae) from Southern India. Bioacoustics 15:223–250
Römer H, Hedwig B, Ott SR (1997) Proximate mechanism of female preference for the leader male in synchronising bushcrickets (Mecopoda elongata). In: Elsner N, Wässle H (eds) Proceedings of the 25th Göttingen neurobiology conference, Thieme, Stuttgart, 322 pp
Sismondo E (1990) Synchronous, alternating and phase-locked stridulation by a tropical katydid. Science 249:55–58
Snedden WA, Greenfield MD (1998) Females prefer leading males: relative call timing and sexual selection in katydid choruses. Anim Behav 56:1091–1098
Strogatz SH, Stewart I (1993) Coupled oscillators and biological synchronization. Sci Am 269:102–109
Walker TJ (1969) Acoustic synchrony: two mechanisms in the snowy tree cricket. Science 166:891–894
West-Eberhard MJ (1984) Sexual selection, competitive communication and species-specific signals in insects. In: Lewis T (ed) Insect communication. Academic, London, pp 283–324
We are grateful to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India for funding this project. We thank Sumit Dhole for help with some of the recordings. We also thank Heiner Römer and Manfred Hartbauer for interesting discussions. We thank two anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments and suggestions. The experiments comply with the legal principles of animal care and animal welfare of the Government of India.
About this article
Cite this article
Nityananda, V., Balakrishnan, R. Synchrony during acoustic interactions in the bushcricket Mecopoda ‘Chirper’ (Tettigoniidae:Orthoptera) is generated by a combination of chirp-by-chirp resetting and change in intrinsic chirp rate. J Comp Physiol A 193, 51 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00359-006-0170-1
- Phase response curve
- Song oscillator