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How And Why Do Grasshoppers Produce Chirping Sounds?

July 25th, 2018

There exists a variety of insects that are capable of producing sounds that are audible to human ears. Such insects include crickets, cicadas and grasshoppers. These noisy insects are common in just about every region of America, so everyone is familiar with their sounds. However, many people cannot accurately match the insect with the sounds that they produce, and very few people know how and why these insects produce sounds in the first place. The collective sounds of grasshoppers can be heard during the months of July and August. The common field grasshopper is one of the most common and widespread chirping insects in the US, so it is likely their chirps that you are hearing during the summer’s hottest months. These grasshoppers use their hind legs to produce rhythmic sounds that attract members of the opposite sex, but both males and females produce chirping sounds for different reasons.

When a male grasshopper seeks a mate, it will perch itself on a piece of grass in order to broadcast its mating call to the insect community. Researchers have found that these males will produce songs that make use of five to twelve different musical notes. Their songs become more complicated as males compete with one another to produce the most impressive songs. Females will indicate which males they prefer by mimicking their songs.

The jumping and chirping behaviors that grasshoppers are well known for is only possible due to their powerful hind legs. A grasshopper’s hind legs are outfitted with a row of tiny pegs that resemble the teeth on a file. In order to create their chirping sounds, grasshoppers rub their hind legs against their rough wing casings. The chirping sounds can be heard when the pegs on their hind legs effectively rub against the hardened veins that are imprinted on their wing casings. The highest concentration of grasshoppers can be found in coastal regions that contain fields of long grass.

Are you personally annoyed by the sounds made by certain insect species?

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