Why Cicadas Make So Much Noise

Summer is pretty much upon us, which means that bugs of all kinds are out in full force. For those of us who are scared of the creepy crawlies, this isn’t the best time of year for spending loads of time outdoors.

Amongst the number of bugs making their appearances this time of year, the cicada is a common guest in many of our backyards.

In fact, for those of us who live in areas where cicadas are known to congregate in the warmer months, we’re probably familiar with their distinctive sound. There is a reason why they’re so loud whenever they reemerge from the ground below.

Photo: Pixabay

Entomologist, Dr. Samuel Ramsey, explained to Wired why it is that these bugs can make such loud sounds.

As Dr. Ramsey stated, the bug’s iconic humming sound is made by the male cicada. The male has a special organ within its abdomen that is called a tymbal. This organ will vibrate and those vibrations will then echo off the insect’s ribs, which is what accounts for that humming sound.

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Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Dr. Ramsey further added that when it comes to attracting a mate, a female cicada will produce a clicking sound in response to a male’s hum – but only when she has chosen a mate.

Even more interesting, as the entomologist stated, is that when cicadas are all together, they will often put out these sounds as a warning to nearby predators not to mess with them because they’re in large groups.

Photo: flickr/Tracy Lee

This explains why cicadas tend to want to gather in large groups – it is important that they gather together and make as much noise as possible.

Clearly, these bugs understand the power that is safety in numbers.

Watch the video below:

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