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What is that noise? Facts about those singing cicadas…..

By December 7, 2010No Comments

Can't hear yourself think? Wondering what the noise is? The drone of cicadas is one of our most recognisable sounds of summer. Cicadas are the loudest insects in the world and there are more than 200 species in Australia. It is thought that the sound produced by some communal species can act as a defence against predatory birds and some are even loud enough (120 decibels) to be painful to the human ear. Cicadas also often sing in chorus, which makes it more difficult for a predator to locate an individual.
Cicadas are so conspicuous that many of their common names were initially given to them by children. As a result cicadas probably have the most colourful common names in the insect world. Some of these include: Black Prince (Psaltoda plaga), Double Drummer, Floury Baker, and the Green Grocer or Yellow Monday, Cyclochila australasiae. And did you know only the
only male cicadas sing? They do this in an attempt to find a mate. And Cicadas spend most of their life underground. It has been suggested that some of the large, common Australian species of cicada may live underground as nymphs for around 6-7 years. This would explain why adult cicadas are much more abundant during some seasons that others, with peaks occurring every few years. Details from
the Australian Cicadas Book by M.S. Moulds. Now you know a little more about these noisy critters.