Distribution of sound pressure around a singing cricket: radiation pattern and asymmetry in the sound field

<p>Male field crickets generate calls to attract distant females through tegminal stridulation: the rubbing together of the overlying right wing which bears a file of cuticular teeth against the underlying left wing which carries a sclerotized scraper. During stridulation, specialized areas of membrane on both wings are set into oscillating vibrations to produce acoustic radiation. The location of females is unknown to the calling males and thus increasing effective signal range in all directions will maximize transmission effectiveness. However, producing an omnidirectional sound field of high sound pressure levels may be problematic due to the mechanical asymmetry found in this sound generation system. Mechanical asymmetry occurs by the right wing coming to partially cover the left wing during the closing stroke phase of stridulation. As such, it is hypothesized that the sound field on the left-wing side of the animal will contain lower sound pressure components than on the right-wing side as a result of this coverage. This hypothesis was tested using a novel method to accurately record a high-resolution, three dimensional mapping of sound pressure levels around restrained <i>Gryllus bimaculatus</i> field crickets singing under pharmacological stimulation. The results indicate that a bilateral asymmetry is present across individuals, with greater amplitude components present in the right-wing side of the animal. Individual variation in sound pressure to either the right- or left-wing side is also observed. However, statistically significant differences in bilateral sound field asymmetry as presented here may not affect signalling in the field.</p>