This image shows one
of the tymbals just below the pointer.
Male cicadas call from trees. Each individual
male tries to call louder than the next in order to convince females
to chose them for mating.
The sound is made with structures known as tymbals which are located on the
sides of the first abdominal segment, near the top just behind where the hindwings
attach. The above image shows
one of the tymbals just below the pointer.
Large muscles contract, causing the tymbal surface to bend inwards which
produces a vibrating click. These vibrating clicking noises are enhanced by
a large air chamber that extends well into the abdomen. Repeated contractions
by thousands of cicadas can create a spectacular din. Females chose the male
that interests them with a flick of their wings which stimulates the male to
Photo courtesy of Amanda Hevel.