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Relationships between Body Size and Sound-Producing Structures in Crickets: Do Large Males Have Large Harps?

Nima R. Moradian and Sean E. Walker
Invertebrate Biology
Vol. 127, No. 4 (2008), pp. 444-451
Published by: Wiley on behalf of American Microscopical Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40206217
Page Count: 8
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Relationships between Body Size and Sound-Producing Structures in Crickets: Do Large Males Have Large Harps?
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Abstract

Male crickets produce conspicuous acoustic signals to attract mates and deter potential rivals. These signals are created when a male cricket closes his wings rapidly and a file and scraper mechanism causes several areas of the wing to vibrate. The harp is an area of the wing that is part of the resonating structure. Because the harp acts as part of a mechanical resonator, changes in harp area or mass could influence the frequency of sound produced. Because females exhibit stabilizing selection on the frequency used in male songs, we hypothesized that there would be a negative allometric relationship between body size and harp area. In addition, we examined the degree of asymmetry in the harp, wing, and tibia. We examined this in four different species of cricket: Acheta domesticus, Gryllus bimaculatus, Gryllus rubens, and Teleogryllus oceanicus. For each species, we measured pronotum width as an index of body size, tibia length, and the area of the forewing and harp. There were significant differences among species in their morphological characteristics. We observed consistent directional asymmetry in the harp area but not in the total wing area. When wings did exhibit directional asymmetry, it was in the opposite direction of the directional asymmetry observed in the harp. Within species, larger males typically had larger harps and the relationship between harp area and body size exhibited negative allometry. Wing area exhibited an isometric relationship with body size. Our data provide a potential mechanism linking decreases in song frequency with body size in male crickets, and suggest that sensory constraints might influence the morphology of signaling structures in a similar fashion as genitalia.

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