Phonotactic behaviour and vertical sound source localisation of the parasitoid fly Emblemasoma auditrix (Diptera: Sarcophagidae)

TitlePhonotactic behaviour and vertical sound source localisation of the parasitoid fly Emblemasoma auditrix (Diptera: Sarcophagidae)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
JournalEcological Entomology
Pagination707 - 716
Date PublishedJan-12-2015
KeywordsAcoustic orientation, host localisation, insect, parasitoid, phonotaxis

1. Acoustically guided movement in a three-dimensional space is a complex
behavioural task performed notably by birds, bats, and some insect species. The
precision of acoustic orientation depends on the directionality of the hearing system
as well as on auditory behaviour.
2. The fly Emblemasoma auditrix Diptera (Sarcophagidae) is a parasitoid of the cicada
Okanagana rimosa Auchenorrhyncha (Cicadidae) and locates its host in the complex
habitat of a forest. The phonotactic behaviour of the fly was analysed experimentally
with emphasis on the vertical domain in the field. Different experimental setups allowed
discriminating subsequent steps in the phonotactic behaviour of E. auditrix.
3. During the phonotactic flight, flies first landed on landmarks, which were used to
re-adjust to the elevation of the sound source. Acoustic targets were located from these
resting positions. The sound source elevation was detected at the start of the flight as the
longitudinal body axis was adjusted to the inclination of the target sound source.
4. Flies usually did not land directly upon the sound source, but landed nearby, and
most often above the target. Within the target area, types of movement for the final
approach differed in respect to target position; flies walked predominantly if the final
target was located above or below, but for horizontally located targets much of the
distance was covered by flight.
5. In conclusion, E. auditrix can locate the acoustic target in complex habitats and uses
a flexible multi-step approach for short-range phonotaxis.

Short TitleEcol Entomol
Related people: 
Nanina Tron
Liesa-Kristin Beuter
Reinhard Lakes-Harlan
Related research sites: 
UMBS Station