Cicadas are small insects found in many parts of the world but largely in Australia. There are about 2500 species of cicadas. There are many facts that can be discused about this tiny creature but this essay pinpoints on the cicadas mating strategy and an interesting twist discovered by cicada experts Dave Marshal and Kathy Hill of the University of Connecticut.
When a male cicada is looking for "love", he starts creating a sound. It is timely to mention that each specie of cicada has a unique type of sound; this aids the female cicada in detecting whether the male cicada calling out is her type or not. Cicadas love heat and "sing" their most spirited "songs" in the hotter days of the year.
If the female cicada responds to the song of the male cicada, that's a sign that he has been chosen. The singing and responding will continue untill the male finds the female cicada.
Researcher such as Hill and Marshall have found that snapping your fingers can attract the attention of the male cicada. But it is all in the timing. The female cicada responds to the male's signal in about 70 miliseconds which means seven hundredth of a second. If the timing is right, the male cicada will be fooled.
So, what's the twist?
On a journey which led Marshal, Hill and Max Moulds to Queensland, Australia, the researchers came upon a very interesting note. After hearing the reply of ehat seemed to be a female cicada, one of the researchers tracked down the source of the sound and was amazed at what he observed. The source of the reply wasn't a female cicada but a well camouflagued Katydid.
The researcher also foreshadowed that "Captive Katydids respond to almost any sharpand short sound, like the clik of two coins or even the sound of a car's indicator."
Reference: New Scientist magazin, 26 September 2009, page 44-7 visit: http://www.newscientist.com/