Have you heard the chirping sound that crickets make in the night? For some this sound can be music to the ears, while for others it is an irritation. However, different cultures view the chirping of crickets differently. For instance, in China, chirping of a cricket is believed to be a sign of good luck. The English name for cricket has been derived from a French word, criquer, which literally translate to little creaker. But how do crickets make this sound?
First in foremost, it is necessary to understand that not every species of cricket is capable of chirping, and the species that do chirp, it is just the males that make the sound. Also, unlike the belief that many cultures have, crickets do not chirp or produce sound to entertain humans. Rather, they produce the sound with the hopes of attracting a mate. The female cricket will be attracted just to a male from her species. Furthermore, male crickets also chirp to inform other males that they are intruding into their territory.
Now coming to how crickets make this chirping sound. The unique sound that crickets make is not from their vocal chords. Rather the sound comes when male crickets rub their wings together. The wings of the male cricket have a thickvein at the base. This vein functions like a file. The upper part of the wings is hard and works like scraper. So, when a male cricket is trying to attract a female or mark its territory, it takes the file of one wing and rubs it against the scraper of the other wing, thus producing the sound. Scientifically the sound that crickets produce is known as stridulation. According to entomologists, crickets are mostly right-winged. What this means is that crickets will rub their right wing against the left wing more often then vice versa, thus making them right-winged.
Some species of crickets actually make burrows wherein the entrance is shaped like a megaphone. When the cricket enters the burrow and rubs its wings, the sound gets amplified due to the shape of the entrance and can be heard outside for some distance.
What many people do not know is that crickets make a variety of sounds for a variety of purposes. There are primarily 4 different chirping sounds that crickets make. One sound is made for attracting a mate. Once the female approaches the male, the male will make a different soft-sounding sound to woo and court her. However, when a female approaches a male cricket, it can also attract other males. So, the male will immediately make another sound that is aggressive sounding to warn other males against coming near the female. After the male successfully mates with the female, he will then make another short chirping sound to inform the world that he was successful.
There are many myths about the sound that crickets make. One says that you can actually guess the temperature outdoors by counting the number of chirps a cricket makes in around fourteen seconds. Then add 40 to that and you willknow the temperature in Fahrenheit.
For people who are trying to stop crickets from making a sound indoors, it can be frustrating attempt. The moment they approach the vicinity where they think that the cricket is present, the sound will cease. This is primarily because crickets have their hearing organs on their legs and when they perceive vibrations from their surroundings, they become alert. The alertness comes as crickets think there could be predator in the vicinity. It is their survival technique. So, the only way to evade a predator is by going silent. Once the cricket thinks that the danger is over, it will resume chirping.
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