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2004, 20

Susan M. Bertram, Luke A. Johnson, Jerome Clark, Carmenlita Chief

An electronic acoustic recorder for quantifying total signaling time, duration, rate and magnitude in acoustically signaling insects

language: English

received 05.11.2004, published 03.12.2004

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Recent mate choice investigations reveal that females often prefer to mate with males that produce acoustic loud, long, and/or leading acoustic signals. However, only a limited number of studies have examined within population variation in these temporal components. Even fewer studies have estimated their heritabilities. Work has been hindered by the time and personnel required to quantify the variation. A design for building an efficient and inexpensive electronic acoustic recorder (EAR), that enables hypothesis testing of temporal signaling behavior in most acoustically signaling insects, is described. The EAR is attached to a personal computer and samples the acoustic environment of up to 128 individuals, 10 times per second, for unlimited time periods. It compares microphone sound pressure level to a pre-set level and stores signaling/non-signaling data on the computer’s hard drive. The EAR monitors when individuals signal temporally, how much time they spend signaling, how loud they signal, duration of signaling bouts, duration of breaks, and when they produce their signaling bouts in relation to their neighbors. The capabilities of the recorder are illustrated with the Texas field cricket, Gryllus texensis.

15 pages, 5 figures


APPENDIX I. Data Acquisition Software (PDF, 35 kb, ZIP)

APPENDIX II. Summary Software (PDF, 25 kb, ZIP)

Сitation: Susan M. Bertram, Luke A. Johnson, Jerome Clark, Carmenlita Chief. An electronic acoustic recorder for quantifying total signaling time, duration, rate and magnitude in acoustically signaling insects. Electronic Journal “Technical Acoustics”,, 2004, 20.


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Susan Bertram is currently an Assistant Research Professor at Arizona State University. She received her BSc and MSc from Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, and her PhD from Arizona State University. Her research investigates how variation is maintained in sexually selected traits

e-mail: sbertram(at)


Luke Johnson is currently a senior staff circuit designer with the Intel Corporation in Phoenix, Arizona. He received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology. He is currently enrolled in a PhD program at Stanford University


Jerome Clark is currently an undergraduate student at Arizona State University. He will receive his BS in Conservation Biology and American Indian Studies in May 2005. He has conducted undergraduate research with the support of Arizona State University, a National Science Foundation funded traineeship through the Undergraduate Mentoring in Environmental Biology program, and a National Institutes of Health funded traineeship through the Minority Access to Research Careers Program


Carmenlita Chief is currently an undergraduate student at Arizona State University. She will receive her bachelors in Conservation Biology in December 2005. She has conducted undergraduate research with the support of a National Science Foundation funded traineeship through the Undergraduate Mentoring in Environmental Biology program