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Tree crickets optimize the acoustics of baffles to exaggerate their mate-attraction signal

Mhatre, Natasha and Malkin, Robert and Deb, Rittik and Balakrishnan, Rohini and Robert, Daniel (2017) Tree crickets optimize the acoustics of baffles to exaggerate their mate-attraction signal. In: ELIFE, 6 .

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.32763.001


Object manufacture in insects is typically inherited, and believed to be highly stereotyped. Optimization, the ability to select the functionally best material and modify it appropriately for a specific function, implies flexibility and is usually thought to be incompatible with inherited behaviour. Here, we show that tree-crickets optimize acoustic baffles, objects that are used to increase the effective loudness of mate-attraction calls. We quantified the acoustic efficiency of all baffles within the naturally feasible design space using finite-element modelling and found that design affects efficiency significantly. We tested the baffle-making behaviour of tree crickets in a series of experimental contexts. We found that given the opportunity, tree crickets optimised baffle acoustics; they selected the best sized object and modified it appropriately to make a near optimal baffle. Surprisingly, optimization could be achieved in a single attempt, and is likely to be achieved through an inherited yet highly accurate behavioural heuristic.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copy right for this article belongs to the ELIFE SCIENCES PUBLICATIONS LTD, SHERATON HOUSE, CASTLE PARK, CAMBRIDGE, CB3 0AX, ENGLAND
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Depositing User: Id for Latest eprints
Date Deposited: 02 Mar 2018 15:06
Last Modified: 02 Mar 2018 15:06
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/58892

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