Saturday, September 1, 2007

Cicada's are cool

I'm finishing sermon prep and listening to a veritable cacophony of cicada's singing outside. Cicada's are an amazing part of God's creation. They crawl out from underground, where they have been hiding in the darkness for years, some for as many as 17. They crawl up a tree and then bust out of their exo-skeleton thing in the most incredible way. Then they burst forth screaming wildly, totally dominating the sound outside. They are invading the Midwest as I write. They will fill forests and the skies as they swarm. Thousands of them will cry out together day and night.

I have discovered, by reading lots on the Internet, the high-pitched song is actually a mating call belted out by males. Each species has its own distinctive song that only attracts females of its own kind. This allows several different species to co-exist. How cool is that?

Furthermore I have read that Cicadas are the only insects capable of producing such a unique and loud sound. Some larger species can produce a call in excess of 120 decibels at close range. This is approaching the pain threshold of the human ear! Smaller species sing in such a high pitch that it cannot be heard by humans, but may cause dogs and other animals to howl in pain (what a shame...).

To top off my noting of various trivial details pertaining to Cicadas, they usually sing during the heat of the day. In addition to attracting a mate, the loud noise actually repels birds. The cicada's song is painful to the birds' ears and interferes with their communication, making it difficult for the birds to hunt in groups. Male cicadas in the same brood will stick together when calling in order to increase the total volume of noise. This reduces the chances of bird predation for the whole lot of them (a.k.a.brood).

Praise God for his glorious creation!


Aaron said...

A cicada fell from a tree beside me, apparently dead, while I was finishing up my sermon this afternoon. It made a loud plop onto the patio.

So, you know, I had a different perspective on the cicada today.

Frontier Forest said...

Maybe we could find some other use for such a creature?
I got it….harness these loud rascals and get them to do some tomato pollinating!