Study: Female crickets steered by sound

October 11, 2005

Cambridge University scientists in England say female crickets react to, and make steering corrections toward, the sound pattern in a male cricket's song.

James Poulet and Berthold Hedwig recorded the walking speed and direction of female crickets placed atop a trackball while a mixture of non-attractive sound pulses and male cricket songs were played. When the females heard the distinctive sound of the male's song, they immediately changed direction and sped up toward the sound.

Non-attractive sounds caused only very weak responses, but when such sounds were inserted into the male's songs, the females changed direction and also steered toward them.

The scientists observed that while listening to the male's song, the females walked to any pattern, but without the male song, they slowed their walking.

The researchers conclude movement in response to external signals by crickets may represent a general strategy in the evolution of insect behavior. As a consequence, in crickets the endpoint of the walking path may not be calculated in advance, but may continually be adjusted as the song input changes.

The study is detailed in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: In cricket sex songs, males feel the caloric burn, study finds

Related Stories

There's more than one way to silence a cricket

May 29, 2014

For most of us, crickets are probably most recognizable by the distinctive chirping sounds males make with their wings to lure females. But some crickets living on the islands of Hawaii have effectively lost their instruments ...

Females butterflies can smell if a male butterfly is inbred

March 5, 2013

The mating success of male butterflies is often lower if they are inbred. But how do female butterflies know which males to avoid? New research reveals that inbred male butterflies produce significantly less sex pheromones, ...

Courtship in the cricket world

April 30, 2012

Everyone wants to present themselves in the best light - especially when it comes to finding a partner. Some rely on supplying honest information about their attributes while others exaggerate for good effect. A new study ...

Fossil cricket: Jurassic love song reconstructed

February 6, 2012

Some 165 million years ago, the world was host to a diversity of sounds. Primitive bushcrickets and croaking amphibians were among the first animals to produce loud sounds by stridulation (rubbing certain body parts together). ...

Recommended for you

A cataclysmic event of a certain age

July 27, 2015

At the end of the Pleistocene period, approximately 12,800 years ago—give or take a few centuries—a cosmic impact triggered an abrupt cooling episode that earth scientists refer to as the Younger Dryas.

New blow for 'supersymmetry' physics theory

July 27, 2015

In a new blow for the futuristic "supersymmetry" theory of the universe's basic anatomy, experts reported fresh evidence Monday of subatomic activity consistent with the mainstream Standard Model of particle physics.

Dense star clusters shown to be binary black hole factories

July 29, 2015

The coalescence of two black holes—a very violent and exotic event—is one of the most sought-after observations of modern astronomy. But, as these mergers emit no light of any kind, finding such elusive events has been ...

Image: Hubble sees a dying star's final moments

July 31, 2015

A dying star's final moments are captured in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The death throes of this star may only last mere moments on a cosmological timescale, but this star's demise is still quite ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.