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Publication - Professor Daniel Robert

    Wing stridulation in a Jurassic katydid (Insecta, Orthoptera) produced low-pitched musical calls to attract females

    Citation

    Montealegre-Z, F & Robert, D, 2012, ‘Wing stridulation in a Jurassic katydid (Insecta, Orthoptera) produced low-pitched musical calls to attract females’. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol 109., pp. 3868 - 3873

    Abstract

    Behaviors are challenging to reconstruct for extinct species, particularly the nature and origins of acoustic communication. Here we unravel the song of Archaboilus musicus Gu, Engel and Ren sp. nov., a 165 million year old stridulating katydid. From the exceptionally preserved morphology of its stridulatory apparatus in the forewings and phylogenetic comparison with extant species, we reveal that A. musicus radiated pure-tone (musical) songs using a resonant mechanism tuned at a frequency of 6.4 kHz. Contrary to previous scenarios, musical songs were an early innovation, preceding the broad-bandwidth songs of extant katydids. Providing an accurate insight into paleoacoustic ecology, the low-frequency musical song of A. musicus was well-adapted to communication in the lightly cluttered environment of the mid-Jurassic forest produced by coniferous trees and giant ferns, suggesting that reptilian, amphibian, and mammalian insectivores could have also heard A. musicus' song.

    Full details in the University publications repository