Seismic Behaviors of a Leafminer, Antispila nysaefoliella (Lepidoptera: Heliozelidae)

Candace Low


This paper presents the first descriptions of 2 distinct behaviors of the Tupelo leafminer, Antispila nysaefoliella Clemens (Lepidoptera: Heliozelidae). Through the use of specialized morphological structures, the leafminers use these behaviors to generate substrate-borne vibrations that can be emitted as audible sounds to humans. Scanning electron micrographs of these structures are presented. In 1 behavior, the larvae “tick” their abdomens back and forth rhythmically; and in the other, they “rattle” their abdomens in short rapid pulses. These are named for the sounds produced. Previous studies have shown that parasitoids emit substrate vibrations while walking and probing during their search for hosts from the leaf surface. The experimental results show that the larvae of A. nysaefoliella are sensitive to vibrational stimuli in general by “wriggling to all frequencies”, but “ticked” only to some frequencies which are characteristic of parasitoid probing behavior, and “rattled” rarely.

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