Vibrational communication of the Nearctic flatid planthopper Metcalfa pruinosa (Say) (Hemiptera: Flatidae) was investigated to determine the role of substrate-borne vibrational signals in mating behavior. Signaling activity changes throughout the day and vibrational communication in this planthopper begins at night. All recorded male and female signals consisted of a series of single pulses. Most of these signals were classified as calling signals. They were emitted spontaneously or were evoked by playback stimulation with prerecorded conspecific signals. Male calling signals are simple, and the main difference between male and female calls was in the pulse repetition time. Pulse repetition time in the middle section of the calling signal was the least variable property of the vibrational signals. During later stages of pair formation, males emit a phrase that is a sequence of pulse trains that has a distinct time and amplitude pattern, whereas females produce continuing monotonous substrate vibrations that could last for several hours. Males participated in continued exchange of vibrational signals. Signals exchanged during male–male interaction did not differ structurally from male calling signals and males never overlapped their signals.
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Vol. 100 • No. 1