The ability to identify and locate conspecifics depends on reliable transfer of information between emitter and receiver. For a majority of plant-dwelling insects communicating with substrate-borne vibrations, localization of a potential partner may be a difficult task due to their small body size and complex transmission properties of plants. In the present study, we used the leafhopper Scaphoideus titanus as a model to investigate duetting and mate searching associated with pair formation. Studying these insects on a natural substrate, we showed that the spatio-temporal structure of a vibrational duet and the perceived intensity of partner's signals influence the mating behaviour. Identification, localization and courtship stages were each characterized by a specific duet structure. In particular, the duet structure differed in synchronization between male and female pulses, which enables identification of the partner, while the switch between behavioural stages was associated with the male-perceived intensity of vibrational signals. This suggests that males obtain the information about their distance from the female and optimize their strategy accordingly. More broadly, our results show that even in insects smaller than 1 cm, vibrational signals provide reliable information needed to find a mating partner

Polajnar, J.; Eriksson, A.; Rossi Stacconi, M.V.; Lucchi, A.; Anfora, G.; Virant Doberlet, M.; Mazzoni, V. (2014). The process of pair formation mediated by substrate-borne vibrations in a small insect. BEHAVIOURAL PROCESSES, 107 (1): 68-78. doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2014.07.013 handle: http://hdl.handle.net/10449/23875

The process of pair formation mediated by substrate-borne vibrations in a small insect

Polajnar, Jernej;Eriksson, Anna;Rossi Stacconi, Marco Valerio;Anfora, Gianfranco;Mazzoni, Valerio
2014-01-01

Abstract

The ability to identify and locate conspecifics depends on reliable transfer of information between emitter and receiver. For a majority of plant-dwelling insects communicating with substrate-borne vibrations, localization of a potential partner may be a difficult task due to their small body size and complex transmission properties of plants. In the present study, we used the leafhopper Scaphoideus titanus as a model to investigate duetting and mate searching associated with pair formation. Studying these insects on a natural substrate, we showed that the spatio-temporal structure of a vibrational duet and the perceived intensity of partner's signals influence the mating behaviour. Identification, localization and courtship stages were each characterized by a specific duet structure. In particular, the duet structure differed in synchronization between male and female pulses, which enables identification of the partner, while the switch between behavioural stages was associated with the male-perceived intensity of vibrational signals. This suggests that males obtain the information about their distance from the female and optimize their strategy accordingly. More broadly, our results show that even in insects smaller than 1 cm, vibrational signals provide reliable information needed to find a mating partner
Scaphoideus titanus
Mating behaviour
Identification
Courtship
Vibrational communication
Localization
Scaphoideus titanus
Comportamento riproduttivo
Identificazione
Corteggiamento
Comunicazione vibrazionale
Settore AGR/11 - ENTOMOLOGIA GENERALE E APPLICATA
2014
Polajnar, J.; Eriksson, A.; Rossi Stacconi, M.V.; Lucchi, A.; Anfora, G.; Virant Doberlet, M.; Mazzoni, V. (2014). The process of pair formation mediated by substrate-borne vibrations in a small insect. BEHAVIOURAL PROCESSES, 107 (1): 68-78. doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2014.07.013 handle: http://hdl.handle.net/10449/23875
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