Evolving Hawaiian Crickets Lose Ability to Chirp
In just a few generations, the male crickets on the Hawaiian island of Kauai underwent a drastic genetic change that rendered them incapable of belting out courtship songs, according to a new study.
Typically, male field crickets sport curved wings, and by rubbing a sharp ridge of one wing with a rough part of the other, the cricket produces a mating call.
Once the insect spots a singing cricket, it deposits larvae onto the cricket. The larvae burrow into the cricket's body, where they mature and subsequently kill the cricket as they emerge.
Researchers led by Marlene Zuk of the University of California, Riverside, have monitored the crickets on Kauai since 1991.
With each visit, the team heard fewer and fewer singing crickets. Then, in 2003, they realized the crickets were abundant but 90 percent of the males had flat wings.
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