Cicadas – the sound of summer

If you haven’t heard a cicada before listen to this:

and then imagine what a row of trees filled with them must sound like!  It’s the sound of summer in the Midi, this mating call made by the male cicadas by clicking membranes on their thoraxes – it’s not peaceful in the countryside when this lot get going.  This evening there was one in our olive tree, making a really piercing chattering noise as I walked past:

They’re not very pretty creatures but I liked the way the low evening sun was glinting on the wings of this one.

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6 thoughts on “Cicadas – the sound of summer

  1. They are remarkable insects, aren’t they? We’ve one that is on a 17 year life-cycle, remaining underground for all but a few weeks of that time. A few years back was their last “birth” and their numbers were greatly diminished, a consequence of urban sprawl into the countryside. Much can change in 17 years. I’ve only heard a few at a time. The sound of trees full of them, like you described, must be near deafening to witness.

  2. I do like the sound of the ‘cigales’ but I’ve recently decided that my favorite time of year here on the Med is between the first cuckoo and the first cigale!

  3. Louisiana and Mississippi, where I have spent some very hot summers, are full of these creatures. I am accustomed to thinking of them, exactly as you say, as “the sound of summer.” Quite right, the light on the olive leaves paints a lovely abstract against that blue blue sky, and the wings of the cicada glint and glimmer in the sun.

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