Sunday, May 24, 2009

What's that noise?!

If you've noticed a really loud, annoying sound in the middle of the afternoon on campus, it's this guy:

Cicada. Photo thanks to S.

It's a cicada, and he's calling out for a mate. Apparently the sound production is related to hot weather, so they can be heard during noon but I have also heard the cicadas calling late in the evening in the campus. The sound is ear-splitting, especially if you go closer. When there are two or three calling at once, it can be quite painful.

There's a very nice section devoted to cicadas on one of the Planet Earth series and it shows a species of periodic cicadas, whose nymphs emerge after 17 years from the ground. Not all species remain underground for so long though, some are annual and others stay for 2-5 years (wiki).

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