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August 19, 2013


Photo: Treehoppers
Treehoppers often cluster into groups and exhibit social behavior, like this Adippe histrio species. Now sensitive microphones can capture the sound vibrations they create — vibrations that could indicate complex communication skills.
Alex Chadwick

Societies Of Sound In The Amazon

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Alex Chadwick

In a patch of eastern Ecuador's Amazon rain forest, a researcher has been searching for treehopper insects that communicate using sound. The researcher, Rex Cocroft, a professor at the University of Missouri, Columbia, studies the evolution of social communication and says it's been discovered that treehoppers signal to each other by vibrating the plant stems where they live. Reporter Alex Chadwick says that discovery means the lives of insects are more complex than previously thought.

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