Their song isn’t as recognizable—or quite as loud—as a cicada’s, but for an insect only half the size of a standard paperclip, black-horned tree crickets can sure belt it out. The males do the singing, on September afternoons and evenings, to attract females. They scrape a toothed ridge on one wing across the hard edge of another wing to produce a continuous trill of 45 pulses per second.
To the human ear, a black-horned’s tune sounds a little like the connection tone of dial-up Internet (remember that)? Happily, the noise is far less obnoxious. The lady crickets sure love it, and the lower the pitch—from a larger male, usually—the better. When a female hears Mr. Right, using “ears” on her front legs, she’ll track him to his leaf perch. Then, in a move that’s opposite to almost every other creature on the planet, she mounts him. (Yup. All crickets mate this way.)