Main content area

Evolution and Diversity of Vibrational Signals in Mantophasmatodea (Insecta)

Eberhard, Monika J. B., Eberhard, Stefan H.
Journal of insect behavior 2013 v.26 no.3 pp. 352-370
Mantophasmatodea, females, phylogeny, principal component analysis, sympatry, taxonomy
Vibrational communication for species identification and mate location is widespread among insects. We investigated the vibrational communication signals of 13 species of the insect order Mantophasmatodea (Heelwalkers). Males and females produce percussive signals by tapping their abdomens on the substrate to locate conspecific mates. We show that male and female calls are of similar general structure but differ in temporal characteristics. Using a principal component analysis, we demonstrate that most species can be distinguished by their calls only. Mapping the calls onto an existing molecular phylogenetic tree reveals a slow diverging drift of male call pattern but no specific trend. For females, a trend from faster towards slower pulse repetition times is indicated. Two sympatric species, Karoophasma biedouwense and Viridiphasma clanwilliamense (Austrophasmatidae), exhibit very different call parameters. The latter species produces calls rather different from all other investigated species, which might hint at reproductive character displacement.