Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 352–370 | Cite as

Evolution and Diversity of Vibrational Signals in Mantophasmatodea (Insecta)

  • Monika J. B. EberhardEmail author
  • Stefan H. Eberhard


Vibrational communication for species identification and mate location is widespread among insects. We investigated the vibrational communication signals of 13 species of the insect order Mantophasmatodea (Heelwalkers). Males and females produce percussive signals by tapping their abdomens on the substrate to locate conspecific mates. We show that male and female calls are of similar general structure but differ in temporal characteristics. Using a principal component analysis, we demonstrate that most species can be distinguished by their calls only. Mapping the calls onto an existing molecular phylogenetic tree reveals a slow diverging drift of male call pattern but no specific trend. For females, a trend from faster towards slower pulse repetition times is indicated. Two sympatric species, Karoophasma biedouwense and Viridiphasma clanwilliamense (Austrophasmatidae), exhibit very different call parameters. The latter species produces calls rather different from all other investigated species, which might hint at reproductive character displacement.


Mantophasmatodea vibrational communication substrate vibration percussion drumming principal component analysis 



We thank Western Cape Province/Cape Nature, South Africa, for permit AAA007-00020-0035 allowing collection of Mantophasmatodea. We would also like to thank M. Picker for providing space in his laboratory and equipment for rearing Mantophasmatodea, and for valuable comments on a previous version of the manuscript. This work was financially supported by a L’Oréal for Women in Science grant (L’Oréal Austria, Austrian UNESCO-Commission, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research) and by a doc.award (University of Vienna, Kulturabteilung der Stadt Wien).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology, Behavioural PhysiologyHumboldt-Universität zu BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.BerlinGermany

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