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New Descriptions, Intraspecific Variation and Systematic Importance of Drumming Behavior in Selected North American Plecoptera

Description: Drumming behavior is described for the first time in 33 North American Plecoptera species, and signals of an additional five species, Pteronarcys pictetii, Acroneuria abnormis, Paragnetina media, Clioperla clio and Isogenoides zionensis, are further detailed. An out-group comparison of behavioral characters in all 104 world species whose drumming is known showed that the behavior is more advanced in the Arctoperlaria Group Systellognatha than in the Group Euholognatha. In general, tapping, monophasy, touching, sequenced exchange and less than 50 taps/answer are ancestral states, and rubbing, grouping, phasing, tremulation, interspersed exchange and equal or more than 50 taps/answer are derived states. There has been some co-evolution between abdominal structure and drumming behavior. Scanning Electron Micrographs of 30 species showed that the primitive state of tapping is ascociated with three classes of abdominal structure: (1) absence of derived structures, (2) lobes or vesicles, and (3) hammers. The derived behavior of rubbing, however, occurs only in species with derived structures, and is predominant in species having vesicles and hammers. Drumming can be used as a line of evidence to aid in defining genera and species, since the behavior has a variable degree of specificity or exclusiveness in all species, particularly in groups of species I have studied in the genera Isoperla, Pteronarcys and Taeniopteryx. Typical and variant computer-synthesized male calls of three stonefly species were tested with live females. They responded at high levels in such a way that the important informational content conveyed was identified as: (1) a minimal threshold of beat numbers, and (2) a discriminant window of beat intervals. Rub frequency and bibeat calling were critical informational parameters in two species.
Date: December 1986
Creator: Maketon, Monchan
Partner: UNT Libraries