Insect Sounds


Here are some insect sounds. Many of these I will have classified by family only, since I have not been able to find each of them so they can be classified. If you know what one is, or if you feel I've mis-classified one, please let me know. All are Windows wav files, and all have been edited for file size and clarity. More exacting sound collectors may contact me for larger, unedited versions of these sounds. Costa Rican Insect sounds are on the Costa Rica page, below.

Remember, all sound clips are copyrighted to Doug Von Gausig, 1997-2007. Non-commercial use is granted freely, but commercial use is expressly forbidden without prior written consent.

A Field Cricket (Gryllus pennsylvanicus) sings to me from my compost pile - he loves it in there! Examination of the wave or spectrum reveals that each chirp is actually three sound pulses! (78K)

An Acridid Grasshopper keeps me company while I sit observing at Tavasci Marsh in the early morning. This guy was a small "short-horned" grasshopper, which are characterized by their short antennae and severely sloping "foreheads". He was about 3/4 inch long. (125K)

Pallid-winged Grasshoppers (Trimerotropis pallidipennis) are common Summer Grasshoppers around Arizona (and almost everywhere else). They're the small, brown and tan mottled grassshopper you probably used as bluegill bait when you were a child (didn't everyone?). This is the sound of their flight - it will be familiar to you, for sure! (105K)

A beautiful Red-winged Grasshopper (Arphia pseudonietana) with bright red wings, edged in black, flies up near Tavasci Marsh, 10/21/97. He clicks loudly like this as he flies - sometimes for 10-15 seconds at a time. Dr. William L. Pratt, Curator of Invertebrates at the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Natural History, University of Nevada, Las Vegas kindly helped me ID this one. (40K)

This Cicada (fam. Cicadidae) sings continually from the branches of a Mesquite tree near Peck's Lake, Clarkdale, Arizona in the early evening. The sound is so loud that it easily overloads my mics at anything closer than 4 feet. This particular one is about 1" long, small for Cicadas. (82K)

This is a sample of the night insects at Peck's Lake. There are 5 distinct species singing in this sample - see if you can pick out all of them (it's easier when you see the spectral view of the file). I think there are two species of Tree Cricket (Oecanthus sp.) and a Field Cricket (Gryllus sp.) along with others (Katydids?). (107K)

Tree Crickets (Oecanthus spp.) are a common sound around Central Arizona - they sing day and night, but they're very hard to find. They inhabit thickets and trees an are green, inconspicuous insects about 3/4 inch (19mm) long. This sample has two insects - the first was recorded one August evening at 80 F plus, and the second was recorded November 4th at 68 F. Maybe they are two species, maybe it's just the time of year or temperature. If you know, fill me in! (70K)

Here's one for the entomological detectives out there! This sound emanates from Becky's baseboard when you disturb the carpet right where it joins the baseboard. It's quite faint (this sample is miked very closely and amplified) and sounds like a cricket who can't quite sing. He is there night and day, and has been ther over a week. We noticed when we recorded this sample that there are two of them - you'll hear that, too. Whassat? (142K)

One of the dominant sounds of Arizona Summers is the chorus of Cicadas which you hear everywhere. These were recorded in the Junipers between Flagstaff and Grand Canyon, and are mostly a miniature species, just .75" (19mm) long. Note that some are singing and some are just ckicking. The spectrogram (61K) reveals that they emit their sounds over a very broad band (3,000 to 11,000 Hz) and at high volume all along that spectrum. This no doubt accounts for the almost painful nature of their trilling. Very high frequencies coupled with very high volume leaves my ears ringing! (wav file 62K)

Occasionally a whole tree will sound like a popcorn popper when these little Cicadas decide to click together, but nobody wants to sing.(48K)

More Cicadas - this time the large variety which sings from Cottonwoods and other deciduous trees in the late Summer. I don't know the species (if you do, please let me know!), but this guy is large (1.5 inches long or so, without the wings), and is brown and black with clear wings which have green veination. (62K)

A cloud of Phantom Midges (fam. Chaoboridae) hovers overhead at Peck's Lake, Clarkdale, Arizona. Midges often form swarms so large and thick that they appear to be a fog or an apparition (hence the name) at a distance. I have a photo of Notre Dame Cathedral in which you can clearly see two columns of midges swarming above the trees. (35K)

The buzz of Honeybees (Apis mellifera) means Summer to me - this recording was made in the Buenos Aires Wildlife Refuge one Spring day. The bees were gathering nectar and pollen in a field of fiddleneck. In the background you'll hear a Northern Cardinal and a Gila Woodpecker.(MP3, 44 sec., 261k)

Bumblebees (Bombus sp.) buzz a little lower - again it's a great sound. This one is feeding at sunflowers around Tavasci Marsh. The spectral analysis indicates a wingbeat of 101-108 bps. (49K)

A Yellowjacket (Vespula sp.) is very interested in my parabolic reflector. Maybe the smell of the plastic attracts him, maybe the dish reflects strongly in some wavelength he likes. Analysis of his hum idicates that he beats his wings at 200 bps! The spectrogram shows 400 pulses per second, but there seem to be "major" pulses and alternate "minor" pulses, so I suppose one major/minor pair is one complete cycle - can anyone help me on this? (35K)

Green June Beetles (Junebugs) (Cotinus nitida) appear in August and September here in Central Arizona - in time to feed on ripening peaches and apricots! This one flew right in and landed onthe mic, then proceeded up the mic to my hand, then onto my arm - all while I was trying to stay very still, recording birds at Tavasci Marsh. His wingbeat measures 72 BPS by spectral analysis. (35K)

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