The cicada’s song

The cicada sings to attract its partner during the breeding season.

The cicada is an insect known to all, mainly for its tremendous singing. At certain times of the year, the sound is so loud that it even disturbs some people. But have you ever wondered why they sing so much?

Like other animals, singing is a form of communication, whether to attack, warn of danger or even for reproduction. The latter is the reason why cicadas sing so much. They are looking for a partner, with the male responsible for all the noise.

Both the female and the male have an organ in the abdomen that works like a speaker. However, only in the male is a membrane found that produces movements that allow the emission of sound. The sound is so loud that it can reach a hundred decibels.

After reproduction, the females lay their eggs and die. After hatching, the young cicadas (nymphs) enter the land and stay there until the breeding season. They feed on the sap taken from the roots of the plants, while waiting for the right moment to dig tunnels that take them back to the surface. Some species of cicadas can stay buried for up to 17 years, being one of the insects that have the longest life.

The breeding season arrives, usually in the warm months of the year, they come out and climb trees. At that moment they undergo metamorphosis, transforming into adult insects. Adult males then start a new song to attract their partners.

It is important to remember that it is at this time of reproduction that cicadas are at greatest risk. After years underground, they will now face their predators and the weather. Among the main animals that feed on cicadas, we can mention birds and reptiles.

Despite being harmless, some species of cicadas have become a serious problem for farmers. In recent years, cicadas have become coffee pests, being registered mainly in the states of Minas Gerais, São Paulo and Paraná.

The nymphs of these animals suck sap from coffee trees, leaving them with less productivity. To solve the problem, the producer must confirm the presence of the nymphs by observing the regions of the roots and stems of the plants. After confirming the existence of cicadas, insecticides must be used to kill the animal, which can be applied to the plant or directly to the soil. Studies associate the increase in attacks on coffee trees to the destruction of native plants for planting.

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