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The evolution of acoustic communication in fossil and extant insects

The Ecuadorean bushcricket Vestria sp. F. Montealegre-Z, S. Valdes

6 October 2014

Fernando Montealegre-Z (Lincoln), Daniel Robert and Kate Robson-Brown (Archeology at UoB) have been awarded a £250k grant by the Leverhulme Trust. Entitled "The evolution of acoustic communication in fossil and extant insects", this award will enable research into the mechanisms of acoustic communication in bushcrickets, investigating the biomechanics of both sound reception and production.

In particular, and for the first time, extensive collections of bushcricket fossils will be investigated using microcomputed X-ray tomography, with the goal to document the 250 million years long evolutionary history of acoustic communication in Orthopteran insects. In 2012, the team was able to reconstruct the song of 165 MYO bushcricket Archaboilus, based on the biophysical analysis of its wing morphology (Montealegre-Z et al). Understanding the diversity of insect acoustic communication in deep time will provide insights into mechanisms of hearing, and also the acoustic ecology of past and present environments.

Further information

Montealegre-Z F., Gu JJ, Robert D, Engel M.S., Qiao G.X. & Ren 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, USA. 109: 3868–3873.

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