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A Soundtrack, and more Autumn stuff - I found a snowy tree cricket in my container garden...

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...out on my deck yesterday, chirping away. I have never actually managed to find one before. I watched him rub his glossy ridged wings together, which I was surprised to see were held upright and open to produce his song.

The Snowy Tree Cricket (Oecanthus fultoni) is a delicate creature with a translucent green body and long lacy wings that they hold straight up when they sing.

Their pure-toned trills enliven the nighttime soundscape with a sweet and silvery ring. The chirp can easily be used to estimate the temperature. For C°, count the number of chirps in 8 seconds, and add 5. For F°, use 15 seconds, and add forty.

Snowy Tree Crickets sing from brushy understory plants at the margins of woods or within open woods, and in gardens like mine. During cold spells, they can be found close to the ground on the trunks of small trees — here they probably find a warmer micro-environment.

They are only found in Canada in extreme southern Ontario and Quebec, and the valley bottoms of extreme southwestern BC (which is very mountainous), and widely found throughout much of the US except the colder prairies, northern Great Lakes regions, New England, and the Southeast.

I love their song of summer, it saddens me when it sloooows down and announces the change of season, like they are doing now. I find their song prettier than those of the blunt-headed brown and black crickets, just as I find the bugs themselves more delicate and beautiful.

They produce chirps consisting of 8 (occasionally 5) pulses at a frequency of 3 kHz. When it's colder, the frequency drops - both the frequency in time and in Hz - the chirping slows and the sound lowers in pitch to 800Hz.

My little buddy is in a jar with food etc for a couple days for me to observe him. He's been quite petulant about chirping so maybe he hates captivity. I'll let him go tomorrow, but later this week we have the first frost forecast (which is too damn early!!). Last year I heard them all the way into November.

Here's the soundtrack - a link to 4 different chirp recordings. Try to figure out the temperature for yourself, and enjoy him while you can!
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I'm not sure where you live, yours may be very different types of cricket - I'm used to pictures of brown, snub-nosed grasshopper things as crickets, and after some decades of summers, finally caught one to see what a delicate, slim, green thing the ones here are.

I've googled them lots of times, to find out what they were, but because we live in such a narrow climate here, which stretches down to the Sonoran Desert and into México, but barely kisses this tiny bit of our massive country, I've not known what they were till this year.

Proof that a studied eye on Nature learns very little....


Thank you for that info, Mazy. I was aware in a vague, holistic way, that as the seasons change their chirping lessens and then disappears, but I'd forgotten about the temperature indication their song can provide. How cool is nature!

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