Nieri R, Mazzoni V, Gordon SD, Krugner R.  2017.  Mating behavior and vibrational mimicry in the glassy-winged sharpshooter, Homalodisca vitripennis. Journal of Pest Science. 90:887-889

Nieri R, Mazzoni V, Gordon SD, Krugner R. 2017. Mating behavior and vibrational mimicry in the glassy-winged sharpshooter, Homalodisca vitripennis. Journal of Pest Science. 90:887-889

The glassy-winged sharpshooter (GWSS), Homalodisca vitripennis, is an important vector of Xylella fastidiosa, the causal agent of Pierce’s disease of grapevine. GWSS control relies mainly on insecticides; therefore, an alternative method, such as vibrational mating disruption, is required. However, knowledge of GWSS intraspecific communication is necessary to evaluate applicability of such methods. Mating behavior and associated vibrational signals were described in different social contexts: individuals, pairs, and one female with two competing males. Behavioral analysis showed that GWSS mating communication involved the emission of three male and two female signals, with specific roles in two distinct phases of mating behavior, identification and courtship. Mating success depended on vibrational duets between genders, which were temporarily interrupted in the presence of male rivalry. Male rivalry behavior involved the emission of three distinct rivalry signals. Two rivalry signals resemble female signals and were associated with replacement of the female in the duet by the rival male. The third rivalry signal was emitted by competing males. Data suggested that rival males used mimicry and hostile signals to interrupt the ongoing duet and gain access to a female. In the future, knowledge acquired from this study will be essential to develop a mechanical mating disruption method for GWSS control. Nieri R, Mazzoni V, Gordon SD, Krugner R. 2017. Mating behavior and vibrational mimicry in the glassy-winged sharpshooter, Homalodisca vitripennis. Journal of Pest Science....
Sitvarin M, Gordon SD, Uetz GW, Rypstra A.  2016.  The wolf spider Pardosa milvina detects predator threat level using only vibratory cues.  Behaviour.  153:159-173

Sitvarin M, Gordon SD, Uetz GW, Rypstra A. 2016. The wolf spider Pardosa milvina detects predator threat level using only vibratory cues. Behaviour. 153:159-173

Predators may inadvertently signal their presence and threat level by way of signals in multiple modalities. We used a spider, Pardosa milvina, known to respond adaptively to chemotactile predator cues (i.e., silk, faeces and other excreta) to evaluate whether it could also discriminate predation risk from isolated vibratory cues. Vibrations from its prey, conspecifics, and predators (Tigrosa helluo and Scarites quadriceps) were recorded and played back to Pardosa. In addition, we recorded predator vibrations with and without access to chemotactile cues from Pardosa, indicating the presence of prey. Pardosa did not appear to discriminate between vibrations from prey or conspecifics, but the response to predators depended on the presence of cues from Pardosa. Vibrations from predators with access to chemotactile cues from prey induced reductions in Pardosa activity. Predator cues typically occur in multiple modalities, but prey are capable of imperfectly evaluating predation risk using a limited subset of information. Sitvarin M, Gordon SD, Uetz GW, Rypstra A.  2016.  The wolf spider Pardosa milvina detects predator threat level using only vibratory cues.  Behaviour. ...
Mortimer B, Gordon SD, Holland C, Siviour CR, Vollrath F, Windmill JFC. 2014. The Speed of Sound in Silk: Linking Material Performance to Biological Function. Adv. Mater. 26:5179-5183.

Mortimer B, Gordon SD, Holland C, Siviour CR, Vollrath F, Windmill JFC. 2014. The Speed of Sound in Silk: Linking Material Performance to Biological Function. Adv. Mater. 26:5179-5183.

Whilst renowned for exceptional mechanical properties, [ 1 ] little is known about the sonic properties of silk. This is surprising given its widespread use by the spider for remote sensing and communication, as well as current industrial research efforts in the production of multifunctional materials. [ 2,3 ] To address this gap in our knowledge and provide further bioinspiration, this paper presents a systematic study confirming the physical basis of spider silk’s sonic properties through a unique combination of laser vibrometry and high-rate ballistic impact. We report that modification of silk’s modulus allows the spider to finely control the sonic properties: achieved either actively by spider spinning behavior or passively in response to the environment. Interpreting our results in the context of whole webs, we propose silk fi bers are “tuned” to a resonant frequency that can be accessed through spider “plucking” behavior, which enables them to locate both prey and structural damage. Through comparison to cocoon silk and other industrial fibers, we find that spider dragline silk has the largest wavespeed range of any known material, making it an ideal model for fabrication of adjustable, green multifunctional materials.   Mortimer B, Gordon SD, Holland C, Siviour CR, Vollrath F, Windmill JFC. 2014. The Speed of Sound in Silk: Linking Material Performance to Biological Function. Adv. Mater....
Uetz GW, Roberts JA, Clark DL, Gibson JS, Gordon SD.  2013.  Active space of multimodal signals of wolf spiders in a complex litter environment.  Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology. 67:1471-1482

Uetz GW, Roberts JA, Clark DL, Gibson JS, Gordon SD. 2013. Active space of multimodal signals of wolf spiders in a complex litter environment. Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology. 67:1471-1482

Abstract Multimodal signals may compensate for environmental constraints on communication, as signals in different modalities vary in efficacy. We examined the influence of complex microhabitats on transmission of vibratory and visual signals of courting male Schizocosa ocreata wolf spiders (Araneae: Lycosidae) with laser Doppler vibrometry (LDV) and behavioral observations in lab and field. We measured maximum potential detection distance of visual and vibratory signals by females in laboratory mesocosms, recorded vibration signal attenuation on different substrates, and estimated transmission distances for male vibration signals in the field. We also determined effective line-of sight visual detection distances in the field with laser distance measures. Together, these data were used to estimate the potential and effective active space of multimodal signals. LDV measures show leaves are highly conductive substrates for wolf spider vibratory signals compared to others (soil, wood, rock). For both visual and vibratory modes, lab estimates of maximum potential distance for signal transmission and detection (behavior studies) exceeded estimates of effective active space (signal attenuation, “vanishing point,” and “line-of-sight” measures). Field estimates of transmission distance for signal modes overlap, such that in close range (<20 cm), vibratory signals are more likely to be detected, while farther away, visual signals are more likely to be seen. These findings thus support current  hypotheses regarding how multimodal communication might extend the range of overall signal active space or compensate for environmental constraints. Uetz GW, Roberts JA, Clark DL, Gibson JS, Gordon SD.  2013.  Active space of multimodal signals of wolf spiders in a complex litter environment.  Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology. 67:1471-1482...
Gordon SD, Uetz GW.  2012.  Environmental interference: impact of acoustic noise on seismic communication and mating success.  Behavioral Ecology. 23:700-714.

Gordon SD, Uetz GW. 2012. Environmental interference: impact of acoustic noise on seismic communication and mating success. Behavioral Ecology. 23:700-714.

Sound is abundant in the environment, often creating ‘‘noise’’ that interferes with animal communication. Animals cope with acoustic interference in a variety of ways, including raising their signal volume (the Lombard effect), changing the pattern, frequency or duration of signals, or changing the time of day when signaling. Although many arthropods use substrate-borne vibration (seismic) signals, the effect of interference from (airborne) acoustic noise on their communication is not well studied. We tested the effects of 3 different types of airborne acoustic sounds on substrate-borne seismic communication and mating success of the ground-dwelling wolf spider, Schizocosa ocreata. We used band-limited white noise (0–4 kHz), predatory bird calls (northern cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis), and a cicada chorus (mixed Magicicada spp.) as interference stimuli. Spider behavior and mating success were differentially affected by each type of environmental acoustic sound. Males took longer to initiate courtship with bird calls, although white noise and cicada calls did not affect male signaling. Females oriented toward males more often with white noise but showed no change in their orientation behavior with bird or cicada calls. Finally, female receptivity and mating success were reduced with white noise and bird calls, whereas cicada calls had no effect. Our data suggest that wolf spiders using seismic vibration in communication respond differently to various types of airborne sounds, transmitted as vibrations, in their environment. This work is among the first to highlight how airborne sounds create seismic interference differentially affecting the behaviors of arthropods living in the leaf litter. Key words: behavioral plasticity, bioacoustics, bird song, cicada, communication, environment, interference, Schizocosa ocreata, sound, vibration, wolf spider. [Behav Ecol]   Gordon...