Sunday, September 01, 2013

Sounds of Summer

During summer nights here in northeast Oklahoma tree frogs and crickets create a symphony of sound that is very pleasant to the ear, but the heat of the day brings the cacophony of cicada song.  I grew up in California and never heard the sound except on family trips back "home".  I didn't need a highway sign to tell me where we were; whenever I heard that metallic din I knew we had arrived. After 34 years of life on Peacheater Creek  I've grown accustom to the sound and the summers would not be the same without them.

The life cycle of the cicada is biologically bizarre.  It lives underground for 5 to 17 years, depending on the species, feeding on root juices.  Then, one day, for some unknown reason, it makes its way to the surface where it sheds it's body and transforms into a creature with wings. The empty body shell stays attached to the tree, fence, or whatever the cicada rested on when the Houdini-like escape took place.

I found this Cicada shell on our front porch column.
The newly winged Cicadas make their way to the tree tops where the males begin their mating calls. I suppose the louder ones are more sexy than the others because they attract the most females.  After mating, the females lay their eggs on the tree branches.  The newly hatched nymphs fall to the ground, burrow beneath the surface, and the cycle begins again.


1 comment:

Rain Trueax said...

no cicadas here but we hear crickets at night and frogs. Love night sounds. sometimes we hear an owl or hawk scream. Coyotes too but those I like best from a distance since we raise sheep