Study sheds light on production of parasitic wasp's courtship song

May 20, 2013
Study Sheds Light on Production of Parasitic Wasp's Courtship Song

A new study published in the April issue of PLoS One by an interdisciplinary team of Virginia Commonwealth University researchers sheds light on the way a tiny parasitic wasp produces its courtship song.

The study analyzes the courtship song of Cotesia congregate using high-speed photography to determine how wing motions produce the song. The male's song attracts females for mating, and the female then lays eggs in caterpillars that feed on . are important to humans because they help reduce damage to , making them great control agents.

A camera that can take images at 2,000 frames per second enabled scientists to slow down the view of wing motion so it can be related to the details of sound generation.

Study Sheds Light on Production of Parasitic Wasp's Courtship Song

The courtship song consists of long "buzzes" followed by a series of loud "boing" sounds. A frame-by-frame analysis was done of the ' song to determine how the sound is produced. The study's findings indicate that the "boing" sound is generated at the bottom of the wing stroke when the wing motion stops before switching direction. This surprising finding means that sound is produced by rapid acceleration of the wing tips similar to a whiplash accident when the body stops quickly jerking the head backward.

The movements that created the courtship song can be viewed and heard on the recordings made by the research team. They are available for viewing on the PLoS ONE website: dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0062051.

Explore further: Fruit fly antennae are tuned in

Related Stories

Fruit fly antennae are tuned in

April 1, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- The antennal ears of different fruit fly species are actively tuned to high-frequency components of their respective mating songs, according to new research led by University College London scientists.

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 ...

Grasshoppers change their tune to stay tuned over traffic noise

November 13, 2012

Grasshoppers are having to change their song – one of the iconic sounds of summer – to make themselves heard above the din of road traffic, ecologists have discovered. The study, published in the British Ecological Society's ...

Crickets' calling song hits the high notes

May 16, 2013

(Phys.org) —Research has detailed how acoustic communication has evolved within a unique species of cricket which exploits extremely high frequency harmonics to interact.

Recommended for you

Secrets of a heat-loving microbe unlocked

September 4, 2015

Scientists studying how a heat-loving microbe transfers its DNA from one generation to the next say it could further our understanding of an extraordinary superbug.

Plants also suffer from stress

September 4, 2015

High salt in soil dramatically stresses plant biology and reduces the growth and yield of crops. Now researchers have found specific proteins that allow plants to grow better under salt stress, and may help breed future generations ...

Ancient walnut forests linked to languages, trade routes

September 4, 2015

If Persian walnut trees could talk, they might tell of the numerous traders who moved along the Silk Roads' thousands of miles over thousands of years, carrying among their valuable merchandise the seeds that would turn into ...

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.