||Crickets alter wind-elicited escape strategies depending on acoustic context
Fukutomi, MatasaburoOgawa, Hiroto
7p.15158 , 2017-11-09 , Nature Publishing Group
Acoustic signals trigger various behaviours in insects such as courtship or escape from predators. However, it remains unknown whether insects utilize acoustic signals to recognize environmental contexts. The cricket is a prominent model insect for neuroethological studies on acoustic behaviour because female crickets exhibit positive phonotaxis in response to male calling songs, and flying crickets display avoidance behaviour for high-frequency sounds such as echolocation call of bats. The carrier frequency of these sounds is a major factor in determining whether they initiate these acoustic behaviours. Here, we examined the impacts of different frequencies of tone sounds on cercal-mediated escape behaviour, using a 5-kHz tone corresponding to the calling song and a 15-kHz tone serving as a trigger of avoidance behaviours. Neither frequency elicited a response in the standing cricket by itself, but they had different impacts on walking responses to airflow stimuli. While the 15-kHz tone reduced response probability, extended moving distance, and enhanced turn-angle variability, the 5-kHz tone had no effect. Although both frequencies of tones facilitated walking backward, the 15-kHz tone had a larger effect than the 5-kHz tone. These frequency dependencies of behavioural modulation suggest that crickets can recognize acoustic contexts and alter their escape strategy accordingly.