Vibrational Communication

Insect Acoustic Communication


ultrasonic sound recording setup
Linking southern pine beetle stridulation to behaviors in a ‘phloem sandwich’.

We live in a noisy world, so it is no wonder that most species have evolved ways to send and receive vibrations.  In general, vibrations come in two flavors, substrate- and air-borne.  Both forms are similar in that they involve waves (moving particles) traveling through a medium.  Substrate-borne vibrations are torsional waves carried through a solid surface and perceived by specialized organs that are in contact with the vibrated medium.  Air-borne vibrations are pressure variations received by a different suite of organs.  Interestingly, a mechanical signal sent by an organism can involve both forms.  Take a stridulating beetle on a plant for example.  A potential mate on a nearby plant might be receiving the air-borne portion of the signal, however, a predatory spider might be receiving the substrate vibrations through the same plant.