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Cicada Data - "The Mating Game"

Cartoon of cicada waking up
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Cicada Data - "The Mating Game"

Credit: National Science Foundation

Audio Transcript:

And now a bit of Cicada Data...from the National Science Foundation.

Announcer: It may not be your idea of an old fashioned love song, but to a cicada, it's the most romantic of operas. University of Connecticut biologist Chris Simon.

Simon: The female actually signals to the male by using a wing flick signal. So when a male is singing like this, if a female wingflicks to the male in the dropoff part of the call, then the male will change his song to this. If the female still doesn't run away, he'll come up to her and start pawing her front legs and if she stays there, he'll change his song to this. And then, when he's doing that, he'll mate with her.

Announcer: The Brood X cicadas on the mating circuit these days consist of several different species. Simon says in places where there are two similar species, natural selection acts to increase the difference in their respective mating calls.

I'm Emilie de Azavedo.

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