Image from page 302 of "Animal Life and the World of Nature; A magazine of Natural History" (1902)
Title: Animal Life and the World of Nature; A magazine of Natural History
Contributing Library: Harvard University, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Ernst Mayr Library
Digitizing Sponsor: Harvard University, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Ernst Mayr Library
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A NOTE ON CICADAS. Written and Illustrated with Photographs by T. A. Gerald Strickland, p.e.s. (CICADAS are large, handsome, noisy bugs usually found in warm countries, though one J very scarce species has been met with in the south of England. Perhaps these insects are more noted for the music they produce than for any other attribute, though the family can also claim distinction from the fact that it contains the longest-lived insect known—the Seventeen-Year Cicada.* But to return to the musical Cicadidaa, some of these were held in great honour by the ancient Greeks on account of the sounds they emitted. Probably the various species have different voices, as opinions vary so much as to the pleasant- ness or otherwise of their vocal entertainments. For instance, the Greeks kept the creatures in cages on account of their song ; one poet spoke of the cicada as the "Nightingale of the Nymphs," and " to excel this animal in sing- ing seems to have been the highest commendation of a singer." But, on the other hand, some authors write in quite a different strain, comparing the cicada's tones to a "combination of threshing- machine and frog pond" and the " whistle of a locomotive," whilst others speak of their " loud shrill screech," "harsh and deafening note," "bursting the very shrubs with their noise," etc. Be all this as it may, the stridulating apparatus of the male, pro- ducing the much-discussed sounds, is of great intricacy and interest : it consists, speaking non-technically, of two marvellously con- structed little drums situ- crtptotympana uttebmedij. ated on either side of the
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See illustrated article on this subject, Vol. II., page 219. —Ed. 269
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