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Female acoustic reply to variation in the male call in a duetting katydid, Scudderia pistillata

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Female phaneropterinae katydids (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae) commonly reply to conspecific male attraction calls with a brief, broadband acoustic tick. In this paper we describe the complex interaction of the katydid Scudderia pistillata female tick response with the variation in male call, which comprises a bout of increasing length multisyllabic phrases. The female responds to each phrase in the bout with a variable number of ticks. She adjusts her tick response, ranging from 1 to 8, with the number of syllables the male presents, responding maximally to 7–9 syllables per phrase. Females reduce their number of ticks in response to later phrases when presented with to various manipulations of a male bout. By adjusting her ticks in response to variability in the male call, the female potentially provides information to the calling male on her preference for certain call characteristics. The temporal latency for the female to reply is not fixed, but is highly correlated with both the number of syllables she hears, as well as the number of ticks she produces.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Entomology, Cornell University, 6132 Comstock Hall, Ithaca NY, 14853, USA


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