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A role for acoustic distortion in novel rapid frequency modulation behaviour in free-flying male mosquitoes

A role for acoustic distortion in novel rapid frequency modulation behaviour in free-flying male mosquitoes

Simões, Patrício M.V., Ingham, Robert A., Gibson, Gabriella and Russell, Ian J. (2016) A role for acoustic distortion in novel rapid frequency modulation behaviour in free-flying male mosquitoes. Journal of Experimental Biology, 219 (13). pp. 2039-2047. ISSN 0022-0949 (Print), 1477-9145 (Online) (doi:10.1242/jeb.135293)

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Abstract

We describe a new stereotypical acoustic behaviour by male mosquitoes in response to the fundamental frequency of female flight-tones during mating sequences. This male-specific free-fight behaviour consists of phonotactic flight beginning with a steep increase in wing-beat frequency (WBF) followed by Rapid Frequency Modulation (RFM) of WBF in the lead-up to copula formation. Male RFM behaviour involves remarkably fast changes in WBF and can be elicited without acoustic feedback or physical presence of the female. RFM features are highly consistent, even in response to artificial tones that do not carry the multi-harmonic components of natural female flight-tones. Comparison between audiograms of the robust RFM behaviour and the electrical responses of the auditory Johnston's organ (JO) reveals that the male JO is tuned not to the female WBF per se, but, remarkably, to the difference between the male and female WBFs. This difference is generated in the JO responses due to intermodulation distortion products (DPs) caused through nonlinear interaction between male-female flight-tones in the vibrations of the antenna. We propose that male mosquitoes rely on their own flight-tones in making use of DPs to acoustically detect, locate and orientate towards flying females. We argue that the previously documented flight-tone harmonic convergence of flying male and female mosquitoes could be a consequence of WBF adjustments so that DPs generated through flight-tone interaction fall within the optimal frequency ranges for JO detection.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Mosquito; Culex quinquefasciatus; Mating behaviour; Insect hearing; Johnston’s organ, Acoustic behaviour; Phonotaxis; Distortion products
Subjects: S Agriculture > SB Plant culture
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Agriculture, Health & Environment Department
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2017 14:59
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: GREAT a
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/15407

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