Sound radiation and wing mechanics in stridulating field crickets (Orthoptera: Gryllidae)

F Montealegre-Z, T Jonsson, D Robert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Male field crickets emit pure-tone mating calls by rubbing their wings together. Acoustic radiation is produced by rapid oscillations of the wings, as the right wing (RW), bearing a file, is swept across the plectrum borne on the left wing (LW). Earlier work found the natural resonant frequency (fo) of individual wings to be different, but there is no consensus on the origin of these differences. Previous studies suggested that the frequency along the song pulse is controlled independently by each wing. It has also been argued that the stridulatory file has a variable fo and that the frequency modulation observed in most species is associated with this variability. To test these two hypotheses, a method was developed for the non-contact measurement of wing vibrations during singing in actively stridulating Gryllus bimaculatus. Using focal microinjection of the neuroactivator eserine into the cricket's brain to elicit stridulation and micro-scanning laser Doppler vibrometry, we monitored wing vibration in actively singing insects. The results show significantly lower fo in LWs compared with RWs, with the LW fo being identical to the sound carrier frequency (N=44). But during stridulation, the two wings resonate at one identical frequency, the song carrier frequency, with the LW dominating in amplitude response. These measurements also demonstrate that the stridulatory file is a constant resonator, as no variation was observed in fo along the file during sound radiation. Our findings show that, as they engage in stridulation, cricket wings work as coupled oscillators that together control the mechanical oscillations generating the remarkably pure species-specific song.
Translated title of the contributionSound radiation and wing mechanics in stridulating field crickets (Orthoptera: Gryllidae)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2105 - 2117
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011

Bibliographical note

Author of Publication Reviewed: Montealegre-Z, F., Jonsson T., & Robert, D
Publisher: The Company of Biologist LTD


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