Meeting Abstract

P2-107  Monday, Jan. 5 15:30  Effects of anthropogenic noise on male signaling behavior and female phonotaxis in Oecanthus tree crickets COSTELLO, R.A.*; SYMES, L.B.; University of Virginia; University of Wisconsin, Madison

Communication is vital to the survival and reproductive success of organisms. There is growing evidence that anthropogenic noise interferes with acoustic communication. While recent studies have tested whether signalers behaviorally modify their signals to prevent masking from noise, studies have only recently begun to test whether noise in fact interferes with the perception of acoustic signals. In this study, we investigated how road noise affects both male signaling and female phonotaxis in Oecanthus tree crickets. To determine whether males alter their calls in the presence of road noise, we assessed how a playback of road noise changed four male calling characteristics: dominant frequency, call amplitude, total time spent calling and latency to begin calling. We used response trials to test the ability of females to localize and respond to male calls in the presence of road noise. Unlike studies in other organisms, which detected quantifiable differences in signals, male tree crickets were less likely to call but did not change signal characteristics. Surprisingly, female response to male signals was not affected by the presence of road noise, despite the potential masking effects of road noise. Because tree crickets often communicate in environments with many species of calling insects, tree crickets may be adapted to tolerate novel sources of acoustic interference. This study presents a case where male signals and female responses are not affected by road noise. Since species are differentially affected by noise, detailed understanding of behavior and sensory systems may be necessary for predicting the effect of acoustic interference on trophic interactions and population dynamics. (