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Data files from: Host plant association, calling activity and sexual dimorphism in an Indian weta

Citation

Diwakar, Swati; Tomar, Manisha (2021), Data files from: Host plant association, calling activity and sexual dimorphism in an Indian weta, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.x69p8czgj

Abstract

Both sexes of Indian weta Gryllacropsis sp. communicate acoustically. Females lack an external ovipositor making it difficult to differentiate between the sexes in the field. There is limited ecological information on the species as it is found high up on the trunks of evergreen trees, well camouflaged and active only at night. The present study was conducted to gain ecological information on this little known yet intriguing species. We tested the hypotheses that 1) calling activity of Indian weta is uniformly distributed throughout the year and 2) there is no difference in morphometric measurements between the sexes. The study was conducted in Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park, Goa, India. Visual scanning of tree trunks followed by vegetation sampling, psychoacoustic sampling and morphometric analyses were carried out.  Resource selection function values, obtained for a total of 52 tree species from 1984 individuals, were less than 0.1 for all plant species indicating no preference by the wetas. Peak calling activity was observed in the month of November (Rayleigh’s Test, Z = 7.90, p< 0.01). Discriminant Function Analysis on morphometric characters of males and females (Wilk’s lambda= 0.32 approx. F (4, 21) =11.24 p< .0001, classification accuracy= 96.15 %) provided clear distinction between males and females. Contribution of body weight was significant (Standardized canonical discriminant function coefficients = +1) and could be used for identification of sexes in the field. These polyphagous insects provide insights on understanding ecological specialization due to host plant association, signal evolution and mating behavior.