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J Evol Biol. 2009 Feb;22(2):355-66. doi: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2008.01652.x. Epub 2008 Nov 15.

Scale effects and constraints for sound production in katydids (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae): correlated evolution between morphology and signal parameters.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.


Male katydids (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae) produce mating calls by rubbing the wings together, using specialized structures in their forewings (stridulatory file, scraper and mirror). A large proportion of species (ca. 66%) reported in the literature produces ultrasonic signals as principal output. Relationships among body size, generator structures and the acoustic parameters carrier frequency (f(c)) and pulse duration (p(d)), were studied in 58 tropical species that use pure-tone signals. A comparative analysis, based on the only available katydid phylogeny, shows how changes in sound generator form are related to changes in f(c) and p(d). Anatomical changes of the sound generator that might have been selected via f(c) and p(d) are mirror size, file length and number of file teeth. Selection for structures of the stridulatory apparatus that enhance wing mechanics via file-teeth and scraper morphology was crucial in the evolution of ultrasonic signals in the family Tettigoniidae.

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