Abstract Males and females of the burrower bug species Scaptocoris castanea Perty and Scaptocoris carvalhoi Becker emit stridulatory signals when on the roots of soybean. The substrate-borne components of the signal can be recorded on the plant but not on the surrounding soil surface. The stridulatory apparatus is composed of the tergal plectrum (lima) and the stridulitrum (stridulatory vein) on the underside of the hind wings. The male plectrum has one ridge and the female lima has 13 ridges. Stridulitra of different species differ in the length and in the number of teeth. Rubbing of plectrum (lima) ridges over the stridulitrum in one or both directions produces pulse trains. The velocity of signals that are recorded less than 0.5 cm from the bug is below 0.013 mm s−1 on the soil and below 0.066 mm s−1 on the leaf surface. Broadband spectra have a dominant frequency of less than 1 kHz and subdominant peaks extending up to 7 kHz. The dominant frequency of the stridulatory signal transmitted through a plant decreases together with the proportion of its higher frequency spectral components. Signals are attenuated for 3–9 dB cm−1 when transmitted through the soil or soybean leaf and for approximately 1 dB cm−1 when transmitted through soybean stem.