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Sexual differences in auditory sensitivity: mismatch of hearing threshold and call frequency in a tettigoniid (orthoptera, tettigoniidae: Zaprochilinae)

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Summary

Sexual dimorphism of the ear of an undescribed species of zaprochiline tettigoniid is described. The internal trachea, dedicated to hearing in other tettigoniids, is unmodified in the male but fully developed in the female. The external auditory spiracle is also lost in the male. In contrast, there is no difference between the sexes in the number of sensilla within the hearing organ. The male is 10 dB less sensitive than the female. The characteristic frequency of the hearing organ at 35 kHz does not match the carrier frequency of the male's call at 51 kHz. As a result of this mismatch the female is remarkably insensitive to the male's call (threshold at 75 dB SPL), and the male is even less sensitive (thresholds⩾80 dB SPL). In nature this provides a maximum hearing range of the male of less than 50 cm.

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Correspondence to W. J. Bailey.

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Bailey, W.J., Römer, H. Sexual differences in auditory sensitivity: mismatch of hearing threshold and call frequency in a tettigoniid (orthoptera, tettigoniidae: Zaprochilinae). J Comp Physiol A 169, 349–353 (1991). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00206999

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Key words

  • Tettigoniidae
  • Auditory sensitivity
  • Sexual dimorphism