Katydids and Crickets – Patterns of Sound

Katydids and Crickets – HeardMusic; Ambience: Night-time Insect Chorus JM: A warm night full of katydids and crickets. It may sound like chaos, but listen closely and you’ll start to hear different patterns. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Tom Walker is an entomologist at the University of Florida who studies crickets and katydids and their songs.TW: “In fact, that’s one of the really important facts about cricket and katydid songs, is that different species have different songs which are special for those species. And they differ in all sorts of ways, but mainly in the rhythm of the wing strokes. And so for instance, there are fast chirpers and slow chirpers, and short chirpers, and long chirpers, etc” JM: So why the differences in the songs?TW: “Remember that the function of the calling song is for a male to get a sexually ready female of the same species. And it’s pretty obvious that it’d be an inefficient communication system if males of all species sang the same and females went to all, it just wouldn’t work. Species that sing in the same place at the same time almost invariably have distinctive songs. They may not be terribly distinctive to human ears, but if you analyze them you can find the difference and they are different to the female. And so basically males were either one song type or another. And it wasn’t long before they discovered that males of each song type could be distinguished morphologically from males of the other song types. Basically, once we started listening to the sounds that they made in order to get females of the right sort, we discovered that we had a real good way of telling species even when the gross appearance of the insects were very similar.”JM: We’ll hear more about cricket and katydid songs in future programs. Please visit our website at pulseplanet, that’s one word, pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

Katydids and Crickets - Patterns of Sound

Crickets and katydids sing for their mates, each species calling for love with a different tune.
Air Date:09/29/2020
Scientist:
Transcript:

Katydids and Crickets - HeardMusic; Ambience: Night-time Insect Chorus JM: A warm night full of katydids and crickets. It may sound like chaos, but listen closely and you'll start to hear different patterns. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Tom Walker is an entomologist at the University of Florida who studies crickets and katydids and their songs.TW: "In fact, that's one of the really important facts about cricket and katydid songs, is that different species have different songs which are special for those species. And they differ in all sorts of ways, but mainly in the rhythm of the wing strokes. And so for instance, there are fast chirpers and slow chirpers, and short chirpers, and long chirpers, etc" JM: So why the differences in the songs?TW: "Remember that the function of the calling song is for a male to get a sexually ready female of the same species. And it's pretty obvious that it'd be an inefficient communication system if males of all species sang the same and females went to all, it just wouldn't work. Species that sing in the same place at the same time almost invariably have distinctive songs. They may not be terribly distinctive to human ears, but if you analyze them you can find the difference and they are different to the female. And so basically males were either one song type or another. And it wasn't long before they discovered that males of each song type could be distinguished morphologically from males of the other song types. Basically, once we started listening to the sounds that they made in order to get females of the right sort, we discovered that we had a real good way of telling species even when the gross appearance of the insects were very similar."JM: We'll hear more about cricket and katydid songs in future programs. Please visit our website at pulseplanet, that's one word, pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.