Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Urban grasshoppers change their tune for females

Grasshoppers that live in noisy urban environments are having to change their song, a study has found.

Researchers suggest that high levels of background noise may affect the grasshoppers' mating process.

They say the insects are forced to increase the volume of the low-frequency sections of their call.

Results of the study, by scientists from the University of Bielefeld, Germany, are published in the journal Functional Ecology.

The research, which shows traffic noise could upset bow-winged grasshoppers' (Chorthippus biguttulus) mating system, is the first of its kind, according to lead researcher Ulrike Lampe.
"Effects of man-made noise on acoustic communication has only been studied with vertebrates, so far," said Ms Lampe, a PhD student at the University of Bielefeld's Department of Evolutionary Biology.

The scientists caught 188 male bow-winged grasshoppers from noisy roadsides and quiet rural locations.

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