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The Structure of Grasshopper Song in Relation To Mating Success

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image of Behaviour

Males of the gomphocerine grasshopper Chorthippus brunneus produce a conspicuous calling song consisting of groups of echemes each composed of syllables. Males with intermediate mean syllable lengths have higher mating success than extreme males. The songs of 21 males previously ranked for mating success have been further analysed using fourier transform analysis of sound envelopes. This analysis confirms the importance of intermediate syllable length and indicates other characters of behavioural signifiance. In particular, a previously undescribed grouping of syllables into triplets is associated with high mating success. This demonstrates that female grasshoppers are sensitive to quite complex features of amplitude modulation in male songs. The technique of fourier transform analysis of sound envelopes has considerable potential in the study of acoustic signals.

Affiliations: 1: School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, U.K.


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