December 18, 2010

Dang that noisy bug!

In the two years we've been living at our new home, I have never heard nor seen a cicada. In the last month, a bunch have taken up residence in the tree in the next door neighbour's yard, right next to the window of our lounge-room. These beggars would have to be the noisiest cicadas I've heard in my life.

The other night, one of the cats started clawing at the screen in an attempt to get at one of the cicadas which had landed near our back door. Here's a photo of it which I understand is a razor grinder, a fairly common cicada and Gladstone is at the northern limit of their range.
Razor grinder (Henicopsaltria eydouxii)
I found a fantastic website called which has lots of photos and information on cicadas. They are quite fascinating creatures and have some equally fascinating names such as Green Grocer, Floury Baker, Double Drummer and Black Prince.

While cicadas are known often for their loud noise, the reason for their noise-making remains unclear although  the suggestion is that it may be a defence against predatory birds, and because they all sing as a group, individuals are not able to be targeted. 

Some fascinating facts about cicadas:
Wanna kiss? I just wish I knew if I had lips.
  • To attract others of their own species,  they have developed their own songs;
  • When adults, the usually only live for a few weeks;
  • It's only the boys who sing;
  • The major part of a cicadas life is spent underground for several years as a nymph;
  • They are not harmful to people although they may accidentally bite one if the confuse it with a plant; 
  • There are more than 200 species of cicadas in Australia; and
  • Their name is derived from the Latin word cicada which means buzzer.

No comments:

Post a Comment