The results of a fascinating new study by researchers from the School of Life Sciences are published today (17th August 2017) in the Journal of Experimental Biology
This Leverhulme-funded research, carried out by Dr Fernando Montealegre-Z, Dr Thorin Jonsson and Benedict Chivers, investigates a unique form of amplification in the sound generation system of a tropical bush cricket.
All bush crickets generate their acoustic mating calls through tegminal stridulation: the rubbing together of their specially modified forewings. A scraper (also known as the plectrum) is passed along a series of hardened teeth with the subsequent vibrations being amplified by specialised wing cells which act similarly to speaker membranes. However, the species in this study (the Neotropical bush cricket Acanthacara acuta) utilises an extraordinary bodily structure to further amplify its call through resonance.
The full story is featured on the School of Life Sciences blog, and the paper is available to read online.
Bush-crickets possess miniature-scale ears in their forelegs. Despite their size and location however, they have similar techniques for hearing sounds as those of a mammal; from sound capturing and sound transformation to frequency analysis.
Fascinating new research into this system by scientists in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Lincoln, UK, now paves the way for major advancements in hearing research using non-invasive methods.
Published Wednesday 3rd May 2017 in Royal Society Open Science, the new study has found that the transparent cuticles which surround the ears of some bush-crickets could offer a window into the natural operation of a frequency analyser which works under similar biophysical principles as the mammalian cochlea. The research found that it is possible to pass harmless laser beams through the cuticle of live bush-crickets to accurately record the biophysical activity of the inner ear – something that is challenging to achieve in the mammalian cochlea. This work therefore offers a potential new insect model for hearing research.
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