ABS 2022
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Examining the potential for evolutionary divergence by describing treehopper host plant use and mating signals
Rebecca Carranza, Jennifer Hamel. Elon University, Elon, North Carolina, United States

Plant-feeding insects often serve as models for studying speciation. Many species produce substrate-borne vibrational signals on host plant species where they feed, mate, & lay eggs. Such insects sometimes change host plant species, which can result in changes to mating signals and reproductive barriers. Entylia carinata are plant-feeding insects that use multiple host plant species, but effects of plant association on their signal parameters are not well-studied. Here, we describe host plant use & vibrational mating signals for a population in the southeastern U.S. In central NC, Entylia use Cirsium altissimum throughout the growing season (month vs. presence, nymphs: χ2= 2.05, P = 0.15; adults: χ2= 0.03, P = 0.85), and they also occupy Erechtites hieraciifolius during late summer. Signal parameters of insects collected from the two host plant species did not differ (linear mixed models, all NS). However, peak frequency differed between signals recorded from early vs. late summer males collected from Cirsium (lmm: F1,11= 8.32, P = 0.01). Future research should assess the effects of developmental nutrition and plant phenology on male signal parameters & female preferences.