Discover Nature this week, and listen for the sounds of autumn, as a sonorous chorus of crickets carries across the night air.
Frogs such as spring peepers may get the glory of signaling warmer seasons, but field crickets are the celebrated singers filling the soundscape of fall.
Field crickets may have black, brown, or tan bodies, about an inch long, and adult females have a needlelike, though harmless, ovipositor extending from the abdomen.
Adult females deposit eggs under soil to overwinter and hatch in the spring. Field crickets molt several times as they grow, and only get their wings in their final molt, as they reach reproductive maturity.
In this final stage of life, males rub rough portions of their wings together at an angle, forming a resonating chamber similar to the body of a violin. These calls attract females to mate and warn-off rival males.
In the fleeting warmth of a fall evening, under the stars or around a campfire, pause to appreciate the song that field crickets have been working all summer to sing.
Learn more about field crickets and their ecological impacts at MissouriConservation.org.
Discover Nature is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation.