Monday, 10 June 2013

Navy Seeks Secrets of Cicada Song

Megan Gannon, News Editor
Date: 03 June 2013 Time: 12:11 PM ET

For having relatively small bodies, cicadas make an impressive racket. Now, researchers with the U.S. Navy are trying to tap into the insects' acoustic abilities to create better techniques for remote sensing and other communications underwater.

Scientists have long been captivated by periodical cicadas, which have what may be the most extended youth of any known insect. It takes them 13 or 17 years to mature, depending on the brood. Cicadas also spend most of their lives underground, but when they reach adulthood, they crawl out of the dirt for a few weeks to molt and mate, have babies and die.

Their brief presence above the surface is marked by a deafening chorus of mating calls; East Coasters experiencing the emergence of Brood II are well aware of the noise, which can reach up to 100 decibels.

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