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J Comp Physiol A Neuroethol Sens Neural Behav Physiol. 2009 Aug;195(8):769-76. doi: 10.1007/s00359-009-0454-3. Epub 2009 Jun 16.

Gleaning bat echolocation calls do not elicit antipredator behaviour in the Pacific field cricket, Teleogryllus oceanicus (Orthoptera: Gryllidae).

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Department of Biology, University of Toronto Mississauga, Mississauga, ON, Canada.


Bats that glean prey (capture them from surfaces) produce relatively inconspicuous echolocation calls compared to aerially foraging bats and could therefore be difficult predators to detect, even for insects with ultrasound sensitive ears. In the cricket Teleogryllus oceanicus, an auditory interneuron (AN2) responsive to ultrasound is known to elicit turning behaviour, but only when the cricket is in flight. Turning would not save a cricket from a gleaning bat so we tested the hypothesis that AN2 elicits more appropriate antipredator behaviours when crickets are on the ground. The echolocation calls of Nyctophilus geoffroyi, a sympatric gleaning bat, were broadcast to singing male and walking female T. oceanicus. Males did not cease singing and females did not pause walking more than usual in response to the bat calls up to intensities of 82 dB peSPL. Extracellular recordings from the cervical connective revealed that the echolocation calls elicited AN2 action potentials at high firing rates, indicating that the crickets could hear these stimuli. AN2 appears to elicit antipredator behaviour only in flight, and we discuss possible reasons for this context-dependent function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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