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Thursday, 6 October 2016

Why And How Crickets Chirp

 Ever wondered how and why crickets chirp?

 As I lay on my bed last night, taking a rest from the long day, I heard crickets chirping by the door post. Though I didn't like the sound at that moment because it disturbed the peace of the warm evening, but it got me wondering why they chirp and even how they do it, an internal or external aid? And so I went for a quick study. Read below.

 Crickets are nocturnal, so they chirp at night. This is the reason we never hear this noise during the daytime. We're also more likely to hear chirping in the spring and summer since in warmer weather, the crickets are more active.

Why Crickets Chirp 

 The main, most important reason that crickets chirp as we all know (biology) is to attract and court a mate that they can reproduce with.  Each species has its own unique chirp that is identifiable to the females of that species (only the males chirp). Scientists have observed that female crickets are more attracted to a particular type of chirp sound: one from a dominant male. More recent studies even show that female crickets prefer the higher pitched, louder sounds of younger males over the deeper chirps of older males. (Haha! So they select too?) When a female is interested in a male’s chirp, she will turn her body to face the direction of the chirp. This response is known as phonotaxis.  

There are different kinds of cricket chirping.
 There are four types of chirping.
  • A loud calling song is used to attract females.
  • A soft courting song is used when a female cricket is near. 
  • An aggressive chirping is set off when another male is coming near. 
  • And another chirp is used for a brief time after successful copulation.

How Crickets Chirp    

 Male crickets create their chirps by rubbing their forewings together. One side of the wings contains a jagged edge. When the flat side of the wing rubs against the jagged side, this produces the chirp sound. 

Another source says
 The wing on the right makes the file section of the tegminal while the left wing makes the scraper section. When the wings move back and forth (bottom of the figure) the file strikes the scraper which generates the call that we hear from the cricket.

See also; 22 amazing facts about the human body 
See also; we have more than just 5 senses 

Not all crickets chirp. 

 Researchers from the University of California have been studying crickets in Hawaii for over 20 years and they have discovered that certain species of crickets have stopped chirping in order to avoid a parasitic predator. A tachinid fly known as Ormia Ochracea targets singing crickets and lays its eggs right on them. When the eggs hatch, the maggots invade the crickets
body and live inside it until they become adults. When they reach adulthood, they
will tear they way out of the poor cricket, killing him (if it has not already died). As the research group continued monitoring Hawaii’s crickets, they discovered that more and more of the crickets were becoming silent. Within 10 years, 90% of the cricket species had developed flat wings that were incapable of producing sound. 
That is just one example of how incredible mother nature’s adaptations can be.

 Now you know... 

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