Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Forest Natural Noise Pollution - the Cicada

If you live just about anywhere in Texas, you know what we have here in The Woodlands. Cicadas abound in the summertime along the Gulf Coast and into the forests. I had not noticed them so much here until last year when they seemed to be everywhere, especially on the pond near my home.

Go outside in June-August and get bombarded with sounds of insects, typically more intense in the evening. The sounds are originating from trees. Sighting a Cicada which is an insect louder than a cricket, is not easy unless you know where to look. You can follow the sound and if you look hard enough, you will see one crawling on a tree limb. When you see one, you will recognize it by its translucent wings.
One evening recently, I heard a whop on the window after dark. What was that!? I went to the patio and saw a Cicada on the ground under the window. Another one was close by on a plant. A third was also nearby. I said to myself – photo opportunity! My wife and daughter even showed interest.

My family is no stranger to a Cicada. My second eldest and his brother used to go hunting these insects and come back with trophies. There are many in Southeast Texas. It is a fun outing with the kids to capture some. I believe they are all of the same species here. They will not bite or harm a human in any way. Their wings and their song distinguish them from all other insects. Depending on the species, the song can differ. I provide a link to the species we have here singing. Go outdoors in the evening and listen. You too will hear and appreciate the song of the Cicada!

A jeweler I ran across makes earrings and other jewelry out of the wings of a Cicada. This practice is fascinating. She waits until they die and then takes the wings and embeds them in clear colored material to form beautiful pieces of jewelry. Check it out here. Let me know if you get one of these. I have not seen one personally yet, but want to see one.

Video of a Cicada singing its song :

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