Cicadas are the loudest insect. Only the males sing and they do so to call for a female.
Two species, the green grocer and yellow monday, produce noise in excess of 120dB and can be heard from 2.4 kilometres away.
Each type has a different song so they don’t attract females of a different species.
Cicadas are different to all other insects in that they have a musical drums in their abdomen called tymbals. Contracting the internal muscles causes them to buckle inwards and produce a pulse of sound.
The hollow abdomen then amplifies the sound. Grouping together when calling reduces cicadas’ chances of being eaten by birds because the sound bounces around making it difficult to locate individual cicadas.
In addition to the calling or mating song, many species also possess a distress song, usually a broken and erratic noise emitted when an individual is captured.
A number of species also have a courtship song, which is usually a quiet call produced only after a female has been attracted nearby using the calling song.
Cicadas are the most efficient and loudest sound-producing insects in existence.