Stridulated soft song by singing insects

Susan L. Balenger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The study of low-amplitude or 'soft' songs and calls has largely been limited to organisms that produce multiple call types that fall neatly into a bimodal distribution with respect to amplitude. The soft vocalizations of many of these animals, including birds and mammals, have proven to be extremely difficult to collect data on due to difficulty in hearing and recording such songs in the wild, the lack of production of these sounds in captivity, and the difficulty in standardizing measurements of the amplitude produced by free-moving animals. Here I suggest we consistently expand the working definition of soft song to allow for the inclusion of insects and other organisms whose calls do not easily fit into a 'high-amplitude' versus 'low-amplitude' signal paradigm. For instance, some species of moths produce extremely quiet ultrasonic courtship songs without also producing a high-amplitude song, and field crickets sing courtship songs that contain both relatively loud and quiet elements within the same song. Soft-singing moths and crickets may not only prove more practical to work with, but may also provide answers to heretofore untestable hypotheses about the function and evolution of soft song.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-280
Number of pages6
JournalAnimal Behaviour
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.


  • Acoustic communication
  • Courtship song
  • Eavesdropping avoidance
  • Field cricket
  • Tympanate moth


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