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Death comes suddenly to the unprepared: singing crickets, call fragmentation, and parasitoid flies


Muller, P (2002). Death comes suddenly to the unprepared: singing crickets, call fragmentation, and parasitoid flies. Behavioral Ecology, 13(5):598-606.

Abstract

Male field crickets are subject to a delicate dilemma because their songs simultaneously attract mates and acoustic predators. It has been suggested that in response, crickets have modified various temporal song parameters to become less attractive to acoustic predators. We investigated whether crickets with chirping (versus trilling) song structures are less likely to attract acoustically orienting parasitoid flies. Experimentally, we evaluated the phonotactic quest of the parasitoid fly Ormia ochracea in response to broadcast cricket calls, presented both simultaneously (choice paradigm) and sequentially (no-choice paradigm). Flight trajectories were recorded in darkness using three-dimensional active infrared video tracking. The flies showed remarkable phonotactic accuracy by landing directly on the loudspeaker. The introduction of acoustic fragmentation that resembles calls of many chirping crickets altered the flies' phonotactic accuracy only slightly. Our results document differential attraction between trilling and chirping cricket songs and quantitatively demonstrate that chirping songs, if presented alone, do not impair the efficiency (temporal investment and landing accuracy) of the flies' phonotactic quest. This study shows that song fragmentation is no safeguard against acoustic parasitism. We conclude that, in general, a cricket may reduce predation only if its neighbors are acoustically more conspicuous, chiefly by amplitude

Abstract

Male field crickets are subject to a delicate dilemma because their songs simultaneously attract mates and acoustic predators. It has been suggested that in response, crickets have modified various temporal song parameters to become less attractive to acoustic predators. We investigated whether crickets with chirping (versus trilling) song structures are less likely to attract acoustically orienting parasitoid flies. Experimentally, we evaluated the phonotactic quest of the parasitoid fly Ormia ochracea in response to broadcast cricket calls, presented both simultaneously (choice paradigm) and sequentially (no-choice paradigm). Flight trajectories were recorded in darkness using three-dimensional active infrared video tracking. The flies showed remarkable phonotactic accuracy by landing directly on the loudspeaker. The introduction of acoustic fragmentation that resembles calls of many chirping crickets altered the flies' phonotactic accuracy only slightly. Our results document differential attraction between trilling and chirping cricket songs and quantitatively demonstrate that chirping songs, if presented alone, do not impair the efficiency (temporal investment and landing accuracy) of the flies' phonotactic quest. This study shows that song fragmentation is no safeguard against acoustic parasitism. We conclude that, in general, a cricket may reduce predation only if its neighbors are acoustically more conspicuous, chiefly by amplitude

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:National licences > 142-005
Dewey Decimal Classification:000 Computer science, knowledge & systems
570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Life Sciences > Animal Science and Zoology
Language:English
Date:1 September 2002
Deposited On:20 Sep 2018 14:18
Last Modified:15 Apr 2021 14:47
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:1045-2249
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/13.5.598

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