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J Insect Physiol. 2008 Jul;54(7):1113-24. doi: 10.1016/j.jinsphys.2008.06.004. Epub 2008 Jun 26.

Stink bug interaction with host plants during communication.

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Department of Entomology, National Institute of Biology, Vecna pot 111, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia.


In solitary plant-dwelling stink bug species, success depends crucially on efficient mate location and recognition, mediated by signals transmitted through the plant. All stink bugs investigated so far communicate with species and sex-specific narrow-band calling and courtship song signals produced by abdomen vibration. Calling songs of lower specificity are characterized by readily repeated units emitted with regular repetition rate from the same place on a plant, while courtship songs take place at shorter distances in the process of species and sex recognition, together with signals of other modalities. Signal spectra with about 100Hz fundamental frequency and harmonics below 1000Hz are tuned to the resonant properties of their green host plants. The majority of the identified leg vibratory receptor cells and the underlying ventral cord interneurons respond best in the frequency range below 500Hz. Green plants with low pass filtering properties transmit optimally signals with a dominant frequency around 100Hz and strongly attenuate vibrations above 600Hz. Accurate tuning of signal spectral properties with the plant's mechanical characteristics enables communication over several meter distances, with dispersive bending waves running through the plant's rod-like structures under standing wave conditions.

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