University of Kentucky Department of Entomology
which are attached to powerful muscles on the underside of the abdomen, next to the thorax. The "eardrums" or tympana lie behind the tymbals. When the muscles attached to the tymbals are tensed and then released, the tymbals resonate, producing the characteristic song. The mechanism is similar to tapping a metal lid many times in succession.
Different species of cicadas produce slightly different songs. By "singing," the cicadas are able to congregate nearby populations of males and females of the same species.
Insects All Year cartoon courtesy of C. Ware, copyright 1998
Cicada taken from University of Kentucky Extension Publication 4DC-04SA, A Key to Insect Orders
Original drawing, S. Bailey 1997
Original document: 7 July 1997
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