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Journal Article

Comparative micromechanics of bushcricket ears with and without a specialized auditory fovea region in the crista acustica


Stoessel,  Alexander       
Archaeogenetics, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Scherberich, J., Taszus, R., Stoessel, A., & Nowotny, M. (2020). Comparative micromechanics of bushcricket ears with and without a specialized auditory fovea region in the crista acustica. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 287(1929): 20200909. doi:10.1098/rspb.2020.0909.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-31D2-4
In some insects and vertebrate species, the specific enlargement of sensory cell epithelium facilitates the perception of particular behaviourally relevant signals. The insect auditory fovea in the ear of the bushcricket Ancylecha fenestrata (Tettigoniidae: Phaneropterinae) is an example of such an expansion of sensory epithelium. Bushcricket ears developed in convergent evolution anatomical and functional similarities to mammal ears, such as travelling waves and auditory foveae, to process information by sound. As in vertebrate ears, sound induces a motion of this insect hearing organ (crista acustica), which can be characterized by its amplitude and phase response. However, detailed micromechanics in this bushcricket ear with an auditory fovea are yet unknown. Here, we fill this gap in knowledge for bushcricket, by analysing and comparing the ear micromechanics in Ancylecha fenestrata and a bushcricket species without auditory fovea (Mecopoda elongata, Tettigoniidae: Mecopodinae) using laser-Doppler vibrometry. We found that the increased size of the crista acustica, expanded by a foveal region in A. fenestrata, leads to higher mechanical amplitudes and longer phase delays in A. fenestrata male ears. Furthermore, area under curve analyses of the organ oscillations reveal that more sensory units are activated by the same stimuli in the males of the auditory fovea-possessing species A. fenestrata. The measured increase of phase delay in the region of the auditory fovea supports the conclusion that tilting of the transduction site is important for the effective opening of the involved transduction channels. Our detailed analysis of sound-induced micromechanics in this bushcricket ear demonstrates that an increase of sensory epithelium with foveal characteristics can enhance signal detection and may also improve the neuronal encoding.