Activity patterns of Phyllophaga crinita (Burmeister), Phyllophaga congrua (LeConte), Phyllophaga crassissima (Blanchard), and Cyclocephala lurida (Bland) grubs were monitored with acoustic sensors in small pots of bluegrass, Poa arachnifera Torr, at varying and constant temperatures over multiple-day periods. Experienced listeners readily distinguished three types of sound with distinct differences in frequency and temporal patterns, intensities, and durations. Of ≈3,000 sounds detected from P. crinita larvae, 7% were identifiable as snaps, with large amplitudes and short durations typically associated with root breakage or clipping activity. Approximately 60% were identifiable as rustles, suggestive of surfaces sliding or rubbing past each other during general movement activity. Another 2% of sounds contained patterns of repeated pulses suggestive of surfaces scraping across a pointed ridge. The remaining 31% had spectral or temporal patterns that fell outside the ranges of easily recognizable sound types. Because the behavioral significance of the different sound types has not yet been fully established, the classified and unclassified sounds were pooled together in analyses of the effects of species, temperature, weight, and time of day. Grubs of all four species produced detectable sounds at rates that increased with temperature [0.45 sounds/((min)(°C))] and larval weight [6.3 sounds/((min)(g))]. Mean sound rates were independent of species and time of day. At temperatures <9°C, mean sound rates fell below the typical levels of background noise observed under field conditions. This reduced activity at low temperatures is likely to reduce the effectiveness of acoustic monitoring in the field in cold weather. The consistency of results obtained in these tests over multiple-day periods suggests that acoustic systems have potential as tools for nondestructive monitoring of the efficacy of insect management treatments as well as for biological and ecological studies.
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