Insect Shouting Matches?

Cicada

Brown Harvestfly Cicada

During Summer and Fall in Indiana, our soundscape is dominated by the songs of insects, primarily males, singing to attract a mate. At a given time, hundreds of different species may be singing at once. How is a male to be heard among all the distracting sounds?

Some insects, such as cicadas, form groups and chorus in unison. The “choir” can produce a louder sound than other insects trying to be heard.  It sounds like a shouting match because it is.   By singing with as choir, males attract notice from a larger number of females. A male cicada will sing with the choir until he detects the call of a nearby female. Then the male will switch from the chorus song to a courtship song that attracts females from close range.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in behavior, by jjneal, Environment. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Insect Shouting Matches?

  1. Pingback: Insect Shouting Matches? | Living With Insects Blog

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