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Trumpeter Cicada

Trumpeter Cicada
Photo Information
Copyright: John Polo (JohnoPolo) (14)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2012-07-28
Categories: Insects
Camera: Canon PowerShot S100
Details: (Fill) Flash: Yes
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2012-07-28 21:33
Viewed: 2988
Points: 0
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I live at the edge of an indigenous forest near Chiang Rai so I get to enjoy a lot of insect sounds. At this time of year only, and over just a few nights, there is one call that eclipses them all by a very large margin - and it’s only heard a few times, well after dark.

The sound is unique and unmistakably distinctive yet difficult to describe. It begins quite faintly as a high-pitched “clarinet-like” sound to my ear (despite the species being called Trumpeters and me having been one too) that gets progressively louder, without any change in pitch, until it’s very loud indeed. According to some literature, the call can be heard from more than a kilometre away – and I can vouch for that. After about ten seconds it abruptly changes to more “cicada-like” noises for a few seconds and the insect is then silent for at least several minutes. It’s obvious that the sound is made by a single individual. I have never heard more than one call at a time and when next the call is heard, it will be from an entirely different location - but “on a track” - and I can only assume that it is the same single insect moving about.

The cicada that produces this awesome call is known in some circles as a Trumpeter Cicada – it’s the Megapomponia intermedia (Distant).

This is a large cicada (the rule is in inches) and last night when one flew onto a window screen just a couple of feet away from me, I first thought it was a bird! Fortunately it was quite unfazed by being flash photographed and I got several shots before it flew away.

This specimen is a male and in the leftmost image, the tymbal is clearly visible.

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