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The auditory system of non-calling grasshoppers (Melanoplinae Podismini) and the evolutionary regression of their tympanal ears
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
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2010 (English)In: Journal of Comparative Physiology A. Sensory, neural, and behavioral physiology, ISSN 0340-7594, E-ISSN 1432-1351, Vol. 196, no 11, 807-816 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Reduction of tympanal hearing organs is repeatedly found amongst insects and is associated with weakened selection for hearing. There is also an associated wing reduction, since flight is no longer required to evade bats. Wing reduction may also affect sound production. Here, the auditory system in four silent grasshopper species belonging to the Podismini is investigated. In this group, tympanal ears occur but sound signalling does not. The tympanal organs range from fully developed to remarkably reduced tympana. To evaluate the effects of tympanal regression on neuronal organisation and auditory sensitivity, the size of wings and tympana, sensory thresholds and sensory central projections are compared. Reduced tympanal size correlates with a higher auditory threshold. The threshold curves of all four species are tuned to low frequencies with a maximal sensitivity at 3-5 kHz. Central projections of the tympanal nerve show characteristics known from fully tympanate acridid species, so neural elements for tympanal hearing have been strongly conserved across these species. The results also confirm the correlation between reduction in auditory sensitivity and wing reduction. It is concluded that the auditory sensitivity of all four species may be maintained by stabilising selective forces, such as predation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 196, no 11, 807-816 p.
Keyword [en]
Insect hearing, Acoustic communication, Orthoptera, Vestigialisation, Evolution of nervous system
National Category
Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-51675DOI: 10.1007/s00359-010-0560-2ISI: 000283374400003OAI: diva2:385821
authorCount :5Available from: 2011-01-12 Created: 2011-01-12 Last updated: 2011-01-12Bibliographically approved

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Strauss, Johannes
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Department of Zoology
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Journal of Comparative Physiology A. Sensory, neural, and behavioral physiology
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