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Vibrational communication and mating behaviour of Dichelops melacanthus (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) recorded from loudspeaker membranes and plants



Vibrational communication is important for successful mating in various stink bugs species. The vibrational signals from males and females of Dichelops melacanthus Dallas (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) are recorded from a nonresonant substrate (i.e. a loudspeaker membrane) to characterize the temporal and spectral properties of these vibrational signals, as well as on a resonant substrate (i.e. bean plants) to obtain information about how these signals are altered when they are transmitted through the plants. On the loudspeaker membrane, D. melacanthus males and females emit only one male or one female song, respectively. However, when the insects are placed on bean leaves, a more complex repertoire is recorded, with three different songs for each sex. The first female and male songs appear to have calling functions and the third male and female songs are emitted during courtship. The second female and male songs are emitted after the first song, although their functions in mating behaviour are not clear. The identified repertoire is similar to those of other Neotropical stink bugs, starting with songs 1 and 2 and developing into song 3. Frequency modulation is observed in the female songs recorded from the loudspeaker membrane and the plants. The signals recorded from plants present higher harmonic peaks compared with the signals recorded from the loudspeaker membrane. The presence of species and sex-specific songs during mating confirms the important role of vibrational communication in mate location and recognition. The temporal and spectral characteristic signals are influenced by the substrate used to record the songs emitted by D. melacanthus.