Stridulation

Stridulation

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Encyclopedia
Stridulation is the act of producing sound
Sound
Sound is a mechanical wave that is an oscillation of pressure transmitted through a solid, liquid, or gas, composed of frequencies within the range of hearing and of a level sufficiently strong to be heard, or the sensation stimulated in organs of hearing by such vibrations.-Propagation of...

 by rubbing together certain body parts. This behavior is mostly associated with insect
Insect
Insects are a class of living creatures within the arthropods that have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body , three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and two antennae...

s, but other animals are known to do this as well, such as a number of species of fishes, snake
Snake
Snakes are elongate, legless, carnivorous reptiles of the suborder Serpentes that can be distinguished from legless lizards by their lack of eyelids and external ears. Like all squamates, snakes are ectothermic, amniote vertebrates covered in overlapping scales...

s and spider
Spider
Spiders are air-breathing arthropods that have eight legs, and chelicerae with fangs that inject venom. They are the largest order of arachnids and rank seventh in total species diversity among all other groups of organisms...

s. The mechanism is typically that of one structure with a well-defined lip, ridge, or nodules (the "scraper" or plectrum) being moved across a finely-ridged surface (the "file" or stridulitrum—sometimes called the pars stridens) or vice-versa, and vibrating as it does so, like the dragging of a phonograph
Phonograph
The phonograph record player, or gramophone is a device introduced in 1877 that has had continued common use for reproducing sound recordings, although when first developed, the phonograph was used to both record and reproduce sounds...

 needle across a vinyl record
LP album
The LP, or long-playing microgroove record, is a format for phonograph records, an analog sound storage medium. Introduced by Columbia Records in 1948, it was soon adopted as a new standard by the entire record industry...

. Sometimes it is the structure bearing the file which resonates to produce the sound, but in other cases it is the structure bearing the scraper, with both variants possible in related groups. Common onomatopoeic words for the sounds produced by stridulation include chirp and chirrup.

Arthropod stridulation


Insect
Insect
Insects are a class of living creatures within the arthropods that have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body , three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and two antennae...

s and other arthropod
Arthropod
An arthropod is an invertebrate animal having an exoskeleton , a segmented body, and jointed appendages. Arthropods are members of the phylum Arthropoda , and include the insects, arachnids, crustaceans, and others...

s stridulate by rubbing together two parts of the body
Body
With regard to living things, a body is the physical body of an individual. "Body" often is used in connection with appearance, health issues and death...

. These are referred to generically as the stridulatory organs.

The mechanism is best known in cricket
Cricket (insect)
Crickets, family Gryllidae , are insects somewhat related to grasshoppers, and more closely related to katydids or bush crickets . They have somewhat flattened bodies and long antennae. There are about 900 species of crickets...

s and grasshopper
Grasshopper
The grasshopper is an insect of the suborder Caelifera in the order Orthoptera. To distinguish it from bush crickets or katydids, it is sometimes referred to as the short-horned grasshopper...

s, but other insects which stridulate include Curculionidae
Curculionidae
Curculionidae is the family of the "true" weevils . It was formerly recognized in 1998 as the largest of any animal family, with over 40,000 species described worldwide at that time...

 (weevils and bark beetles), Cerambycidae (longhorned beetles), Mutillidae
Mutillidae
Mutillidae are a family of more than 3,000 species of wasp whose wingless females resemble ants. Their common name velvet ant refers to their dense pile of hair which most often is bright scarlet or orange but may also be black, white, silver, or gold. Their bright colours serve as aposematic signals...

 ("velvet ants"), Reduviidae
Reduviidae
Reduviidae is a large, cosmopolitan family of predatory insects in the suborder Heteroptera...

 (assassin bugs), Buprestidae (metallic wood-boring beetles), Hydrophilidae (water scavenger beetles), Cicindelinae (tiger beetles), Scarabaeidae
Scarabaeidae
The family Scarabaeidae as currently defined consists of over 30,000 species of beetles worldwide. The species in this large family are often called scarabs or scarab beetles. The classification of this family is fairly unstable, with numerous competing theories, and new proposals appearing quite...

 (scarab beetles), Glaresidae ("enigmatic scarabs"), larva
Larva
A larva is a distinct juvenile form many animals undergo before metamorphosis into adults. Animals with indirect development such as insects, amphibians, or cnidarians typically have a larval phase of their life cycle...

l Lucanidae
Stag beetle
Stag beetles are a group of about 1,200 species of beetle in the family Lucanidae, presently classified in four subfamilies Some species grow up to over 12 cm , but most are about 5 cm .-Overview:...

 (stag beetles), Passalidae (Bessbugs), Geotrupidae (earth-boring dung beetles), Alydidae
Alydidae
Alydidae, commonly known as broad-headed bugs, is a family of true bugs very similar to the closely related Coreidae . There are about 40 genera with 250 species altogether...

 (broad-headed bugs), Miridae
Miridae
The large and diverse insect family Miridae contains the plant bugs, leaf bugs, and grass bugs, and may also be known as capsid bugs. It is the largest family of true bugs belonging to the suborder Heteroptera, with over 10,000 known species and new ones constantly being described...

 (leaf bugs), Corixidae, notably Micronecta scholtzi
Micronecta scholtzi
Micronecta scholtzi, also known as the Lesser Water Boatman, is a species of water boatman in the family Corixidae in the order Hemiptera. They are some 2 mm long and are common in freshwater ponds and lakes across Europe, preferring stagnant to moving water. It is one of some 45 species of...

, the Black imported fire ant
Black imported fire ant
Long thought to either be a Subspecies or color variation of Solenopsis invicta , the black imported fire ant is now recognized as its own species with a demonstratively different range and living habits.BIFA seem to be more tolerant of cold and a less dominant species than RIFA...

 (Solenopsis richteri), and some species of Agromyzidae
Agromyzidae
The family Agromyzidae is commonly referred to as the leaf-miner flies, for the feeding habit of larvae, most of which are leaf miners on various plants....

 (leaf-mining flies). Stridulation is also known in a few tarantula
Tarantula
Tarantulas comprise a group of often hairy and often very large arachnids belonging to the family Theraphosidae, of which approximately 900 species have been identified. Some members of the same Suborder may also be called "tarantulas" in the common parlance. This article will restrict itself to...

s (Arachnida) and millipede
Millipede
Millipedes are arthropods that have two pairs of legs per segment . Each segment that has two pairs of legs is a result of two single segments fused together as one...

s (Diplopoda).

The anatomical parts used to produce sound are quite varied: the most common system is that seen in grasshoppers and many other insects, where a hind leg scraper is rubbed against the adjacent forewing (in beetle
Beetle
Coleoptera is an order of insects commonly called beetles. The word "coleoptera" is from the Greek , koleos, "sheath"; and , pteron, "wing", thus "sheathed wing". Coleoptera contains more species than any other order, constituting almost 25% of all known life-forms...

s and true bugs the forewings are hardened); in crickets and katydids a file on one wing is rubbed by a scraper on the other wing; in longhorned beetles, the back edge of the pronotum scrapes against a file on the mesonotum; in various other beetles, the sound is produced by moving the head - up/down or side-to-side - while in others the abdominal tergites are rubbed against the elytra; in assassin bugs, the tip of the mouthparts scrapes along a ridged groove in the prosternum; in velvet ants the back edge of one abdominal tergite scrapes a file on the dorsal surface of the following tergite.

Most spiders are silent, but some tarantula
Tarantula
Tarantulas comprise a group of often hairy and often very large arachnids belonging to the family Theraphosidae, of which approximately 900 species have been identified. Some members of the same Suborder may also be called "tarantulas" in the common parlance. This article will restrict itself to...

 species are known to stridulate. When disturbed, Theraphosa blondi, the Goliath tarantula, can produce a rather loud hissing noise by rubbing together the bristles on its legs. This is said to be audible to a distance of up to 15 feet (4.5 m). One of the Wolf Spider
Wolf spider
Wolf spiders are members of the family Lycosidae, from the Ancient Greek word "" meaning "wolf". They are robust and agile hunters with good eyesight. They live mostly solitary lives and hunt alone. Some are opportunistic hunters pouncing upon prey as they find it or even chasing it over short...

s, Schizocosa stridulans Stratton, produces low-frequency sounds by flexing its abdomen (tremulation, rather than stridulation) or high-frequency stridulation by using the cymbia
Pedipalp
Pedipalps , are the second pair of appendages of the prosoma in the subphylum Chelicerata. They are traditionally thought to be homologous with mandibles in Crustacea and insects, although more recent studies Pedipalps (commonly shortened to palps or palpi), are the second pair of appendages of the...

 on the ends of its pedipalps.

Stridulation in several of these examples is for attracting a mate, or as a form of territorial behaviour, but can also be a warning signal (acoustic aposematism
Aposematism
Aposematism , perhaps most commonly known in the context of warning colouration, describes a family of antipredator adaptations where a warning signal is associated with the unprofitability of a prey item to potential predators...

, as in velvet ants and tarantulas). This kind of communication was first described by Slovenian biologist Ivan Regen
Ivan Regen
Ivan Regen was a Slovenian biologist, best known for his studies in the field of bioacoustics....

 (1868–1947).

Vertebrate stridulation


A number of species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 of venomous snake
Venomous snake
"Poisonous snake" redirects here. For true poisonous snakes, see Rhabdophis.Venomous snakes are snakes which have venom glands and specialized teeth for the injection of venom...

s are known to stridulate as part of a threat display. They arrange their body into a series of parallel C-shaped (counterlooped) coils that they rub together to produce a sizzling sound, rather like water on a hot plate. The most well known examples are members of the genus
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 Echis
Echis
Echis is a genus of venomous vipers found in the dry regions of Africa, the Middle East, Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka. They have a characteristic threat display, rubbing sections of their body together to produce a "sizzling" warning sound...

(saw-scales vipers), although those of the genus Cerastes
Cerastes (genus)
Cerastes is a genus of small, venomous vipers found in the deserts and semi-deserts of northern North Africa eastward through Arabia and Iran. Three species are currently recognized.-Description:...

(North African desert vipers) and at least one bush viper species, Atheris desaixi
Atheris desaixi
Atheris desaixi is a venomous viper species endemic to Kenya, where only two isolated populations are known. It is known for its striking black and yellow coloration. This species is named in honor of a Peace Corps volunteer who collected the first specimen: Mr. Frank DeSaix...

, are known to do this as well. A dedicated stridulation apparatus has also been discovered in males of one (as of April, 2007) bird
Bird
Birds are feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic , egg-laying, vertebrate animals. Around 10,000 living species and 188 families makes them the most speciose class of tetrapod vertebrates. They inhabit ecosystems across the globe, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Extant birds range in size from...

 species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

, the Club-winged Manakin
Club-winged Manakin
The Club-winged Manakin is a small passerine bird which is a resident breeding species in the cloud forest on the western slopes of the Andes Mountains of Colombia and northwestern Ecuador...

.
One species of mammal, the lowland streaked tenrec
Lowland Streaked Tenrec
The Lowland Streaked Tenrec is a small tenrec found in Madagascar, Africa.-Distribution and Habitat:It is found in tropical lowland rain forest, in the northern and eastern parts of Madagascar.-Physical Appearance:...

(Hemicentetes semispinosus) produces a high pitch noise by rubbing together specialised quills on its back.

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