Songs and the Function of Song Elements in Four Duetting Bushcricket Species (Ensifera, Phaneropteridae, Barbitistes)

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The structure of male songs and the timing of female replies with respect to the male songs are described for four species of the palaearctic bushcricket genus Barbitistes (B. constrictus, B. ocskayi, B. serricauda, B. yersini). In a male song, 3 to 16 syllables form a chirp followed by a “trigger syllable” after a longer interval. The trigger syllable releases a female reply with a latency of 30 to 50 ms in all four species. In B. serricauda songs, there is no clearly separated trigger syllable. Instead, the first syllable of a chirp functions as a trigger syllable. Some B. serricauda males may produce a short female-type syllable just at the moment, when a female would reply. The possible function of such a syllable is acoustical mimicry. When comparing at least two song parameters, each species occupies a specific combination of values. According to the overlap of parameters a close phylogenetic relationship between B. constrictus and B. serricauda and between B. ocskayi and B. yersini is assumed. This interpretation is compared with a hypothesis based on morphological investigations.

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