Grasshoppers Have Evolved to Deal With Our Noise
By Jill Harness
Image courtesy of Flickr user driverevan
Anyone who has ever lived by a busy street can tell you just how loud traffic can get. To compensate, humans can just talk a little louder to be heard, or turn up the volume on the TV if the sound of cars whizzing by overpowers it—but solutions to deal with the noise don't come so easy for other creatures. In fact, for grasshoppers to adjust to increased noise levels, the insects had to evolve a new sound that could still be heard above busy city streets.
German researchers came to this conclusion after studying the mating song between grasshoppers captured in the quiet countryside and those that lived near busy roads. The song of those in busy areas had a major boost in the low frequency component of their mating call in order to be heard.
While this might not seem like that big of a deal, the research marks the first time that insects have been found to change their behavior to deal with noise pollution. Researchers speculate that many other creatures may be adapting in a similar manner.