Males of the katydid Sphagniana sphagnorum form calling aggregations in boreal sphagnum bogs to attract mates. They broadcast frequency-modulated (FM) songs in steady series, each song comprised of two wing-stroking modes that alternate audio and ultrasonic spectra. NN analysis of three populations found mean distances between 5.1 and 8.4 m, but failed to find spacing regularity: in one males spaced randomly, in another they were clumped, but within the clumps spaced at random. We tested a mechanism for maintaining inter-male distances by playback of conspecific song to resident males and analysing song interactions between neighbouring males in the field. The results indicate that the song rate is an important cue for males. Information coded in song rates is confounded by variation in bog temperatures and by the linear correlation of song rates with temperature. The ultrasonic and audio spectral modes suffer different excess attenuation: the ultrasonic mode is favoured at shorter distances (< 6 m), the audio mode at longer distances (> 6 m), supporting a hypothesized function in distance estimation. Another katydid, Conocephalus fasciatus, shares habitat with S. sphagnorum and could mask its ultrasonic mode; however, mapping of both species indicate the spacing of S. sphagnorum is unaffected by the sympatric species.
Journal of Comparative Physiology A – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 13, 2018
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