John A. Doherty
Dept. of Biol., Villanova Univ., Villanova, PA 19085
Cricket phonotaxis behavior provides a useful model system for understanding underlying neural processes of sound temporal pattern recognition and localization. It is assumed that both sound recognition and localization has occurred when a female cricket undergoes phonotaxis towards a singing male. Phonotactic tracking by the female cricket can be turned on or off by altering certain temporal components of the male calling song. Synthetic song playback experiments demonstrate that some temporal components are more important than others in eliciting phonotaxis behavior. In several cricket species that produce continuous trills or repeating four-pulse chirps, sound pulse repetition rate is of primary importance. The effects that other temporal properties have on phonotaxis sometimes are evident only when the pulse rate is made less ``attractive'' by moving its value outside of its natural range. Some of these other relevant temporal properties include pulse duration, chirp repetition rate, and pulse and chirp duty cycles. Neurophysiological studies have identified some of the neural correlates to these behavioral results. It is not known how the processes of sound recognition and localization are interrelated in the auditory nervous system. Behavioral studies are currently underway to determine the roles of different calling song temporal properties in these processes.