Crickets Make World’s Highest Pitched Love Song

Crickets3Katydids are well known for their vocal prowess, with males communicating with distant females by rubbing their wings together.

But Supersonus, a newly identified genus of insect that comprises three recently discovered katydid species, is in a class by itself. All three species produce the animal kingdom’s highest pitched mating call, according to a new study.

The call hits notes of 150 kHz, thanks to a structure in its right wing that vibrates like a drum, acting as a kind of speaker. The calling frequencies used by most katydid species range between 5 kilohertz (kHz) and 30 kHz.

Humans, meanwhile, can only hear up to about 20 kHz.

Discovered in the trees of Colombian and Ecuadoran rain forests, the three kinds of newly discovered katydids have unusually small wings—they’re less than a millimeter long. As in consumer electronics, the smaller the speaker, the higher its frequency.

Study leader Fernando Montealegre-Z discovered that the katydid songs’ reach record frequencies by taking high-speed audio of their calls and then slowing down the sound so that they could be heard by humans.

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