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Insects change calls to be heard above road noise

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Insects have joined birds, frogs, and whales in the list of species that change their calls so that they can be heard above chronic human noise.  Researchers at the University of Bielefeld in Germany compared the songs of grasshoppers that lived near a road with those living in open grassland;  “We found that grasshoppers from noisy habitats boost the volume of the lower-frequency part of their song, which makes sense since road noise can mask signals in this part of the frequency spectrum,” said Ulrike Lampe, the lead researcher.

“Increased noise levels could affect grasshopper courtship in several ways. It could prevent females from hearing male courtship songs properly, prevent females from recognising males of their own species, or impair females’ ability to estimate how attractive a male is from his song,” she said.

Read more in this article from The Independent

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