Bean beetle (Callosobruchus maculatus) larvae unintentionally generate vibrations in a seed as they forage. We hypothesize that beetle larvae use vibrations transmitted though adjacent seeds as a cue to evaluate the population density during development, thereby allowing larvae to adjust their allocation of resources during development. Using a laser vibrometer and accelerometer, we recorded feeding vibrations to 1) quantitatively describe the vibrations, 2) assess if vibrations do transmit from one seed to another via contact, and 3) record the vibrations transmitted through an empty seed when there are multiple seeds containing larvae in contact with the empty seed. This last item simulates a more natural environment where a larvae would be experiencing signals from multiple directions.
Next, we will use the recordings with multiple adjacent, occupied seeds in a playback experiment where we will manipulate density and evaluate adult life-history and behavioral traits to determine if larvae alter their development in response to density.
This project is a collaboration with Russell Moore of Faded Line Studios and Dr. Rex Cocroft at the University of Missouri
Dr. Rex Cocroft