Hey, Roach Babe: Male cockroaches give fancy courting whistles

11:27am, September 6, 2006

Some male cockroaches whistle at females with surprisingly complex, almost birdlike sounds that vibrate through the ground and the air, researchers find.

Males of one of Madagascar's less-studied hissing-roach species, Elliptorhina chopardi, hiss loudly at the other guys and at predators. When courting females, though, the males make soft sounds, including whistles. For the most dramatic one, each male uses two voices simultaneously, like some singing birds, Jérôme Sueur and Thierry Aubin based at the University of Paris XI–Orsay note in the October Naturwissenschaften. Under laboratory observation, males that didn't whistle were spurned by females.

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