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First Evidence of Vibrational Communication in Homotomidae (Psylloidea) and Comparison of Substrate-Borne Signals of Two Allied Species of the Genus Macrohomotoma Kuwayama

Yi-Chang Liao, Man-Miao Yang
Journal of insect behavior 2017 v.30 no.5 pp. 567-581
Psylloidea, acoustics, females, insect communication, males, mating behavior, organisms
Substrate-borne signals are widely used in Hemiptera and are known to be utilized in mate searching and recognition. Within this Order, the superfamily Psylloidea is a diverse taxon which uses this type of signal modality during mating behavior between the two sexes. This study describes and compares the previously unreported vibrational communication of two closely related species of Macrohomotoma (Homotomidae). Both genders of these two species, Macrohomotoma gladiata Kuwayama 1908 and Macrohomotoma robusta Yang 1984, emit vibrational signals and establish duets during mating. The structure of male calling consists of two chirps while the female response is a single chirp. Males may sometimes follow the female response by emitting a single chirp that sounds similar to the female response with respect to the chirp duration and dominant frequency. This behavior is novel among Psylloidea and its potential function is discussed. Specific comparison of signal characteristics has revealed that the two species of Macrohomotoma are clearly distinguishable from each other which opens the possibility of acoustic signals being used for species delineation.