Nathaniel Wagner, “The Impact of Interspecies Interaction on Adult Male Treehoppers Signaling Behavior”
Mentor: Rafael Rodríguez Sevilla, Biological Sciences
We focused on Enchenopa binotata, a species of treehopper that communicates through vibrational signals on a plant medium. While most species of treehoppers each inhabit a specific host plant, some species may share the same niche. However, while species may live on the same plant, different species communicate at different frequencies which discourages interspecies interaction. We decided to study the impact that mixed versus single species groups have on their communication signals as adults. Does being exposed to signals of other species affect the calls of other individuals and if so, how? By creating mixed and single species groups of nymphs, and then recording their signals with laser vibrometry when they reach adulthood, we were able to measure any change in their signaling behavior due to interspecies interactions. We focused on measuring duration, frequency, pulse rate, and quantity of calls, and compared the two treatments. We expect that being raised in multi-species groups will have an impact on signaling behavior of adults. Our findings give us more information on how separate species of treehoppers communicate and interact in the wild and how that interaction may affect their signaling behaviors.
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