Washington:: Researchers have found that natural or manmade noise affects the reproduction and survival of flies.
Ormia flies try to listen to cricket calls to find hosts for their young. When found, the flies deposit their eggs on or near the cricket. Larvae hatch and burrow inside of the cricket, eventually bursting through and killing the host.
Therefore, the researchers hypothesised that noise could interfere with eavesdropping among the flies such that they have a difficult time finding their hosts.
The research was published in — Royal Society Open Science — and used sticky fly traps near speakers broadcasting cricket calls across a gradient of noise.
The results showed that fewer parasitoid flies were caught near speakers in noisier locations. Because parasitoids end up killing their hosts, the results suggest that crickets may benefit from calling in noisy areas.
The study also found that both traffic noise and natural ocean noise inhibit fly orientation to sound, suggesting crickets could use sound like a parasite shield across different soundscapes.
These results suggested that soundscapes may influence the evolution of tightly co-evolved host-parasitoid relationships.