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  • Thumbnail for Spatial vision in band-winged grasshoppers (Orthoptera: Acrididae: Oedipodinae)
    Spatial vision in band-winged grasshoppers (Orthoptera: Acrididae: Oedipodinae) by Duncan, Alexander Brett

    Visual acuity, the ability to resolve fine spatial details, can vary dramatically between and within insect species. Body-size, sex, behavior, and ecological niche are all factors that may influence an insect’s acuity. Band-winged grasshoppers (Oedipodinae) are a subfamily of grasshoppers characterized by their colorfully patterned hindwings. Although researchers have anecdotally suggested that this color pattern may attract mates, few studies have examined the visual acuity of these animals, and none have examined its implications on intraspecific signaling. Here, we compare the visual acuity of three bandwing species: Dissosteira carolina, Arphia pseudonietana, and Spharagemon equale. To measure acuity in these species we used a modified radius of curvature estimation (RCE) technique. Visual acuity was significantly coarser 1) in males compared to females, 2) parallel to the horizon compared to the perpendicular, and 3) in S. equale compared to other bandwings. Unlike many insect families, body size within a species did not correlate with visual acuity. To examine the functional implications of these results, we modeled the appearance of different bandwing patterns to conspecifics. These results suggest that hind- wing patterning could only be used as a signal to conspecifics at short distances (<50cm). This study furthers the exploration of behavior and the evolution of visual systems in bandwings.