Tree cricket song has note of variability | Science News

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Tree cricket song has note of variability

Wing segments form chorus that helps shape insect’s sounds

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4:58pm, April 30, 2012

Unique wings allow one type of male tree cricket to hum a different sort of tune — one that encompasses a wide range of pitches. The discovery could mean that these males are saying a lot more than previously thought, and that potential mates might be listening for these notes.

“The frequencies might be carrying some information about the condition of the male.  An insect that is able to sing faster, and hence at a higher frequency, might actually be quite well fed, or he’s in a nice warm place you might want to be in,” says Natasha Mhatre of the University of Bristol in England. “You now have to ask: ‘What kind of information is that frequency carrying?’”

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