Saturday, October 19, 2013
Singing insects' swan song
The increasingly cool evenings are putting the kibosh on the fantastic fall symphony of singing insects, and I always find it a bit depressing when these charismatic fiddlers begin to wane. We're soon to enter winter's dormancy, when the singing insects - and nearly all other bugs - disappear. They're there, often in egg form, but out of sight and out of mind.
I managed to find and photograph quite a few Orthopterans ("singing insects") this summer and fall, and following are a few pictorial highlights.
This is a female meadow katydid (unknown species) snacking on the grains of grease grass. Orthopterans, at least most of them, eat plants and often common readily available fare, hence their abundance.
CLICK HERE to hear one.
CLICK HERE to hear its loud trill, which sounds like a shorted out electrical line. It may ring a bell.
CLICK HERE to listen to one. These sound files come from The Songs of Insects, an epic book and website by Wil Hershberger and Lang Elliott. Here's what they have to say about the Robust Conehead: "Can be heard more than a thousand feet away! At close range, it becomes painful to listen to. One would think that the insect would burst into flames from the friction produced from creating such an intense song".
Just a handful of tough singers are hanging on, and even they will soon be gone. I still hear the jerky sputterings of Carolina Ground Crickets, wheezy chirps of Striped Ground Crickets, and the slightly more melodic trills of Allard's Ground Crickets. An occasional grating crackling of a Round-tipped Conehead still issues from the grasses, and the ubiquitous Jumping Bush Crickets give occasional chirps. By and large, the symphony is in intermission until next summer, though.
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