Why Do Crickets Chirp?

Have you ever wondered why crickets chirp?  I don’t know about you but the ones around my house seem to really kick it into high gear around bedtime.  So why do crickets chirp?  Contrary to what you may have heard, it is not the cricket rubbing its legs together.

Chirping, or stridulation, is done only by males. The sound is made by the cricket’s stridulatory organ which is a large vein that runs along the bottom of the cricket’s wing.  The stridulatory organ is covered with teeth-like serration.  The male cricket runs the top of one wing along the serration on the bottom of the other wing.  While doing this, the cricket holds up his wings which serve as acoustical sails…this making the sound travel.

Dolbear’s Law is the idea that the cricket will chirp at a higher rate when the temperatures are higher.  This explains why they seem to be so much louder in the summertime.  By using Dolbear’s Law, you can calculate the temperature in Fahrenheit by adding 40 to the number of chirps that a cricket makes in 14 seconds.

Now it’s time for a little game of Name That Tune!  Crickets have 4 songs.  Which type of song goes with which behavior?

What song is loud and attracts females while repelling males?

The Calling Song

What song is very quiet and made when a female is near?

The Courting Song

What song detects when another male is near?

The Aggressive song

What song is short and sweet after a successful mating?

The Copulatory song

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