An array of eight microphones, all at a distance of 15 cm, was used to make simultaneous recordings of the sounds emitted by courting male acridid grasshoppers of the species Omocestus viridulus. In this species, the movement pattern for sound production differs in the two hindlegs, and in most cases the leg facing the female moves with the larger amplitude. The sonic sound intensity (the total sound in the one-third octave bands with centre frequencies from 5 to 20 kHz) is maximal ipsilateral to the leg stridulating with the larger amplitude (the dominant leg). A spontaneous switch of dominance to the other leg may cause a significant change in the emitted sound power. The sound intensities contralateral to the dominant leg and frontal to the animal are, on average, approximately half (−3 dB) of the ipsilateral value, whereas the mean sound intensities behind and above the singer are approximately one-fifth (−7 dB) of the ipsilateral value. In most singers, the patterns of sound radiation are close to these mean values, but in some singers the radiation patterns are radically different. The sound radiated in various directions differs not only in terms of sound intensity but also with respect to the frequency spectrum, which was studied up to the one-third octave band with a centre frequency of 31.5 kHz. In particular, the ratio between the ultrasonic and sonic components is much smaller in the forward direction than in other directions. This may allow the courted female to hear whether the courting male is oriented directly towards her.
- © 1999 by Company of Biologists