Mutual Behavioral Adjustment in Vibrational Duetting
Animal communication often involves a back-and-forth of influence between the sexes. Not only do males produce signals to court females–females often reply back, as is the case in many plant-feeding insects. Here, we explore the behavioral complexity that arises from these interactions. We examine the potential for substrate-borne vibrational duetting insects to serve as case studies of the evolution and evolutionary consequences of mutual influence between the sexes, including mutual mate choice. Female mate choice on the basis of male signals has been documented in several species of insects that communicate via substrate-borne vibration, but it is less clear how often males modify their behavior (up to and including male mate choice) on the basis of variation in female vibrational signals. We assessed the potential for the signals of one sex to influence the behavior of the other sex with a literature review in which we compared the signals used by males and females in vibrational duetting. We found that female signals were at least as long and variable as male signals, although male signals often had more components than female signals. Thus, it seems likely that female vibrational duetting behavior is involved in proximate and evolutionary dynamics involving mutual influence and stimulation between the sexes.
We thank Rex Cocroft and Gerlinde Höbel for discussion and constructive comments to the manuscript. Funding was provided in part by NSF grant IOS–1120790 to RLR and KD Fowler-Finn, and by University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Research Grant Initiative grant 101x197 to Gerlinde Höbel.
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