Cicadas

This passage discusses the Cicada, which is a bug that has a special mating call.

Lexile Level: 1180L

Categories: Animals & Nature


A familiar sound heard during the late summer months across North America is the resonating, mating "song" of the cicada. Among the loudest of all sounds produced by insects, the song of some cicadas is louder than a jackhammer. Only males produce the cicada's distinctive, piercing noise. They produce it by rapidly vibrating membranes, called "tymbals," on the sides of their abdomen. Their bodies amplify the sound in much the same way that the body of a musical instrument, such as a guitar, amplifies the sound of the vibrating strings. By wiggling its abdomen toward and away from the tree to which it is clinging, the cicada can modify its sound. If you've ever heard a cicada singing, you might have found that it was almost impossible to tell from which direction the sound was coming. Fortunately for the survival of the species, the female cicada has no problem locating the source of the sound.


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