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PLoS One. 2015 Jan 15;10(1):e0116794. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0116794. eCollection 2015.

Acoustic and temporal partitioning of cicada assemblages in city and mountain environments.

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Department of Biomedical Science and Environmental Biology, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
Department of Biotechnology, National Kaohsiung Normal University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium, Pingtung, Taiwan.


Comparing adaptations to noisy city environments with those to natural mountain environments on the community level can provide significant insights that allow an understanding of the impact of anthropogenic noise on invertebrates that employ loud calling songs for mate attraction, especially when each species has its distinct song, as in the case of cicadas. In this study, we investigated the partitioning strategy of cicada assemblages in city and mountain environments by comparing the acoustic features and calling activity patterns of each species, recorded using automated digital recording systems. Our comparison of activity patterns of seasonal and diel calling revealed that there was no significant temporal partitioning of cicada assemblages in either environment. In addition, there was no correlation between the acoustic distance based on spectral features and temporal segregation. Heterospecific spectral overlap was low in both city and mountain environments, although city and mountain cicada assemblages were subject to significantly different levels of anthropogenic or interspecific noise. Furthermore, for the common species found in both environments, the calling activity patterns at both seasonal and diel time scales were significantly consistent across sites and across environments. We suggest that the temporal calling activity is constrained by endogenous factors for each species and is less flexible in response to external factors, such as anthropogenic noise. As a result, cicada assemblages in city environments with low species diversity do not demonstrate a more significant temporal partitioning than those in mountain environments with high species diversity.

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