Abstract We tested the hypothesis that male southern green stink bugs, Nezara viridula (L.), use substrate-borne songs to locate females. We recorded the responses of bugs on plants to the vibrations caused by a prerecorded female song and by an artificial sound. The female song caused males to walk, to respond with the calling and courtship songs and to approach the source of the song with characteristic search behaviour at junctions between branches on the plants. At a junction, a searching male stopped, stretched his legs and antennae and compared the vibratory signals on the two branches, with different combinations of legs and antennae. The males then left the junction and approached the source of the vibration. Males located the loudspeaker significantly more frequently in the presence than in the absence of vibratory stimuli on cyperus, Cyperus alternifolius L., and beans, Phaseolus vulgaris L. Vibrational directionality was also elicited by artificial pure tones whose spectral and temporal parameters were similar to those of natural female song. Females showed no reaction to vibratory stimulation and no vibrational directionality. We discuss possible mechanisms underlying vibrational directionality in the light of expected signal changes during transmission through plants.