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The calling behaviour and spatial distribution of male bushcrickets (Sciarasaga quadrata) and their relationship to parasitism by acoustically orienting tachinid flies

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-18, 12:41 authored by Geoff AllenGeoff Allen
1. This paper examines the calling behaviour and spatial distribution of male Sciarasaga quadrata Rentz (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae), a bushcricket that is subject to attack by an acoustically orienting parasitoid fly, Homotrixa sp. (Diptera: Tachinidae: Ormiini).
   2. Checks on calling activity in populations of S.quadrata confirmed that calling began 2–3 h before sunset and continued well beyond midnight. Calling activity was not restricted by temperature with males calling over air temperatures of 10.6–24.2°C.
   3. Nearest-neighbour analyses, within the sampled areas, revealed that the spacing between calling males was random and the minimum distance between calling males was 3.74 m. Mean distances between calling males varied between 9.2 m and 23.0 m and significantly changed as male density, which peaked at 0.36 calling males per 100 m2, declined over the calling season.
   4. Males showed no preference for any one plant species, with their distribution across bushes not significantly different to the frequency of the plants within the habitat. The perch height of calling males was on average half way up the height of a bush and was significantly influenced by the height of the bush. Perch height was not significantly influenced by proximity to calling males or by whether or not males were parasitized.
   5. Site fidelity of males was low with only 0–10% of bushes occupied by calling males over successive nights. Males, though flightless, moved on average 6.70 m and up to 26.56 m per night.
   6. No evidence was found for the use of aggregation in S.quadrata as a primary defence against ormiine attack. Commencing calling prior to sunset, frequent movement, and a lack of association with any particular plant species, although possibly relevant to ormiine attack, could also be explained in terms of other activities such as male-male interactions and mating behaviour.


Publication title

Ecological Entomology










Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA)


Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Place of publication

9600 Garsington Rd, Oxford, England, Oxon, Ox4 2Dg

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Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences

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