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Keywords:

  • calling song;
  • cluster analysis;
  • cryptic species;
  • distribution;
  • India;
  • phylogeny;
  • song evolution

In most taxa, species boundaries are inferred based on differences in morphology or DNA sequences revealed by taxonomic or phylogenetic analyses. In crickets, acoustic mating signals or calling songs have species-specific structures and provide a third data set to infer species boundaries. We examined the concordance in species boundaries obtained using acoustic, morphological, and molecular data sets in the field cricket genus Itaropsis. This genus is currently described by only one valid species, Itaropsis tenella, with a broad distribution in western peninsular India and Sri Lanka. Calling songs of males sampled from four sites in peninsular India exhibited significant differences in a number of call features, suggesting the existence of multiple species. Cluster analysis of the acoustic data, molecular phylogenetic analyses, and phylogenetic analyses combining all data sets suggested the existence of three clades. Whatever the differences in calling signals, no full congruence was obtained between all the data sets, even though the resultant lineages were largely concordant with the acoustic clusters. The genus Itaropsis could thus be represented by three morphologically cryptic incipient species in peninsular India; their distributions are congruent with usual patterns of endemism in the Western Ghats, India. Song evolution is analysed through the divergence in syllable period, syllable and call duration, and dominant frequency.

© 2011 The Linnean Society of London, Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2012, 164, 285–303.