The phrase “serenading crickets” can be read in two ways, with “serenading” acting as an adjective, describing the “crickets. For example the serenading crickets chirped vibrantly in the moonlit bank of the aquamatic pond. Or, “serenading” can be read as an action verb, and the “crickets” being the direct object of that action, receiving the “serenading.” For example, Serenading crickets is Joe’s hobby.
But regardless of the title’s interpretation, both descriptions are accurate, because crickets can serenade, and crickets can be serenaded. But how? It’s because only the male crickets serenade. Now, they don’t serenade with maudlins or lyres. They utilize a specific body part that allows them to create a very rhythmic and attractive (to female crickets) sound. The act of rubbing 2 body parts together to create a sound is called stridulation. The body part that does the stridulating for most crickets is located on the tegman, which is simply known as the forewing. The tegman is leathery in texture, and has a long vein running through the center, which has comb-like serrations protruding from the peak of the vein. And at the rear of the opposite tegman is a similar mechanism that acts as the scrape. When these 2 parts rub together, they friction resonates into a harp-like sound that can attract potential females, and repel competing males.
When a male cricket’s reasoning has vanished, and been replaced with the urge to interact with a female cricket, the male will rub its tegmans in specific orientation, hoping to attract the female. If the male is successful, and courts the female cricket, he culminates the achievement with a triumphant song of glory. Not only does the song of triumph declare the male’s conquer, it also encourages the female to lay her eggs, so that another male doesn’t inseminate them.
Cricket chirping has become synonymous with reliability. The specific number of chirps performed by a cricket maestro can tell the informed listener the type of cricket species and the temperature of the location. The more chirps per minute, the higher the temperature. The relationship between chirps and temperature is so reliable that Dolbear’s Law was created. The formula to factor the temperature is Temperature = 50 + ((# of chirps per minute - 40) / 4)). For example, if a cricket can chirp 100 times per minute, subtract 40 from 100 (=60), and divide that number by 4 (=15), and add 50 to that number (50 + 15 = 65). It is 65 degrees Fahrenheit outside.
Chirping crickets can reveal a lot of information; their breeding habits, their territorial protection, and temperature information. And although that annoying sound may just signal that there is an unwanted insect inside of our home, it can also reflect many more personified characteristics that reveal crickets as intelligent and assertive decision makers in the natural world.
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