For some, the chirping of crickets is an annoyance, while to others, it is melodious music. In China, a cricket that is singing in the home is seen as a sign of good luck. Just how do these little creatures produce and project such a boisterous song?
Only male crickets produce sounds, and not all species of crickets chirp. The male crickets chirp to attract a female mate. They also chirp to establish their territories and defend them against competing males.
How do they chirp? They produce sounds by rubbing their wings together. At the base of the forewing, there’s a thick, ridged vein that acts as a file. The upper surface of the forewing is hardened, like a scraper. When the cricket wants to call for a mate, he will lift his wings and pulls the file of one wing across the scraper of the other. The thin, papery portions of the wings then vibrate, amplifying the sound.
Some crickets, such as mole crickets, even dig tunnels in the ground that have megaphone-shaped entrances. When they sing from just inside their burrow openings, the shape of the tunnel amplifies the sound they create.