Behavioral response of Graminella nigrifrons (Homoptera: Cicadellidae) to experimentally manipulated vibrational signals

Randy E. Hunt, Joseph P. Fox, Kenneth F. Haynes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Mate recognition for the leafhopper Graminella nigrifrons (Forbes) occurs when a male spontaneously emits a multisectional vibrational calling song to which females respond by emitting simple pulses. Significant differences were found among males in the duration, number of chirps, and chirp rate within sections of the song and the total song. Repeatability (proportion of total variation due to differences among males) of call features ranged from very low (0.04 for total chirps in song) to high (0.67 for section 3 chirp rate). However, song modification and playback experiments revealed that the variation in the measured song features was not important in determining whether a female will respond. Rather, female response depended only on the presence of two of the three types of pulses which comprise a chirp. These "essential" pulses were found within chirps of all call sections that contain chirps. Manipulation of chirp rates from 0.58 to 2.70 times the normal rate did not affect female response, nor did changing the period of silence between the "essential" pulse types from 0.25 to 1.75 times the normal period. These results suggest that components of the male calling song function in mate recognition but are not used by females to discriminate among conspecific males.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Insect Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1992


  • Cicadellidae
  • Graminella nigrifrons
  • communication
  • leafhopper
  • mating behavior
  • reproductive isolation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Insect Science


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