Localization mechanisms of small plant-dwelling insects
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] Movement is the basis of animal ecology, and understanding the causes and consequences of animal movement is a major goal of ecological research. Movement decisions involve an integrated process of sensory input and behavioral output. While environmental cues are important cues, social cues also likely influence movement decisions. For terrestrial insects, social cues in the form of substrate or plant-borne vibrations are extremely important. Here we investigate how vibratory communication or cues influence the movement behavior of two different terrestrial insect species: thornbug treehoppers (Umbonia crassicornis) and periodical cicadas (genus Magicicada). Thornbug males home in on a receptive female by use of duetting, during which a walking male and a stationary female signal in alternation. By describing the search paths of males we were able to identify key components of female responses, as changed by the plant, which influence male searching behavior. In periodical cicadas, millions of nymphs leave their borrows within a few days of each other to start their above ground life as adults. At present soil temperature is the only cue that has been investigated to explain emergence synchrony, but we collected data from the field for two broods (brood I and II) and emergence synchrony was best predicted be soil temperature plus the presence of social cues.