Insects in South America Produce Nature's Highest-Pitch Calling Songs

The insects have only recently been discovered, inhabit Colombia and Ecuador

Three new insect species that form a previously unknown genus and that have only recently been discovered in South America are now said to produce the highest-pitch calling songs that have until now been documented in nature.

The Alpha Galileo Foundation tells us that these three newly discovered insects fall under the general category of katydids, otherwise known as bush crickets.

They inhabit forests in Colombia and Ecuador and rely heavily on acoustic communication when the time comes for them to find a suitable mate and start a family, the same source explains.

Writing in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers explain that, when looking to find a female willing to mate with them, males produce calling songs whose pitch reaches 150 kHz.

To put things into perspective, it need be said that the human ear lacks the ability to pick up pitches higher than 20 kHz, and most other katydids that have until now been discovered produce songs between 5 kHz and 30 kHz.

“To call distant females, male katydids produce songs by ‘stridulation’ where one wing (the scraper) rubs against a row of ‘teeth’ on the other wing. The scraper is next to a vibrating drum that acts like a speaker,” explains Dr. Fernando Montealegre-Z.

“These insects can produce, and hear, loud ultrasonic calls in air. Understanding how nature’s systems do this can give us inspiration for our engineered ultrasonics,” adds Dr. James Windmill.

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