Bug of the Week: Summer Sounds 2

Although we expect to hear cicadas this time of year, there's a new sound at night in our yard that we didn’t predict. Follow this link to hear what it sounds like:

Any idea what it might be?

These photos might be a clue.

tree cricket female

This individual is a female, which because of her long egg-laying tube or ovipositor. She isn’t the singer, however, only the males sing.

tree cricket female

This is a female tree cricket (genus Oecanthus). A tree cricket is more slender and delicate than the common field cricket. One type of tree cricket, the snowy tree cricket, is used as a thermometer because the frequency of its chirps can be used to calculate the temperature. The snowy tree cricket has a similar appearance to this one, but it is pale green or almost white.

Based on the tan coloration, this is probably the western tree cricket. Although we’ve seen and heard tree crickets in other parts of Arizona before, this is the first time we’ve had them in our yard.

The tree cricket males sing in a different way than cicadas. Instead of vibrating tymbals, the male tree crickets rub ridges on their wings together. Check Grasshoppers & Allies Supplemental: Tree Crickets (Oecanthus) for photos of male western tree crickets using their wings to chirp.

So, what animals are you hearing in your area right now?

If you child is interested in crickets, try reading some of these:

Nonfiction:
Chirping Crickets (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science, Stage 2) by Melvin Berger and Megan Lloyd (Illustrator)

Part of the Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science, these are always well-written and researched books.

Crickets and Grasshoppers by Ann O. Squire

Related Fiction:
The Very Quiet Cricket Board Book by Eric Carle

The Cricket in Times Square (Chester Cricket and His Friends)
by George Selden and Garth Williams (Illustrator)

For adults:
Field Guide to Grasshoppers, Katydids, and Crickets of the United States by John L. Capinera, Ralph D. Scott, and Thomas J. Walker

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