E.J.Wilkins

03 Nov 2006 706 views
 
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photoblog image Can you see me?

Can you see me?

This is a European Cicada, it's the only one I've ever seen.
It was on a tree at Belem, near Lisbon.

Despite being able to hear it from a long way away, it took four people quite a few minutes  of searching the tree trunk until we spotted it perfectly camouflaged against the bark. It was, of course, a few feet above our heads. I ended up standing precariously on the arm of a bench to take this shot.

Taken on auto, I have 'enhanced' the colour very slightly to make the insect visible.

I would be delighted if somebody could explain how it makes such a loud noise, and how the sound carries over a long distance.


my vfxy


Can you see me?

This is a European Cicada, it's the only one I've ever seen.
It was on a tree at Belem, near Lisbon.

Despite being able to hear it from a long way away, it took four people quite a few minutes  of searching the tree trunk until we spotted it perfectly camouflaged against the bark. It was, of course, a few feet above our heads. I ended up standing precariously on the arm of a bench to take this shot.

Taken on auto, I have 'enhanced' the colour very slightly to make the insect visible.

I would be delighted if somebody could explain how it makes such a loud noise, and how the sound carries over a long distance.


my vfxy


comments (19)

  • johnnyg
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 3 Nov 2006, 00:33
My first thought was .... what the, then I had another look and then had a good read. Glad I've been right about you. By the by they make that sound in two ways, they rub their legs against each together like crickets and they rub their legs against thier abdomins while blowing out or breathing, wierd but effective. I only know this because some Spanish old guy said that's what they do.
EJWilkins: *grin* Gotcha!
It's amazing, all that effort to make a huge sound ... and then they hide!
  • Suby
  • Milton Keynes, UK
  • 3 Nov 2006, 01:17
Eeeck and yuck, creepy crawler, I flee grin

Suby
EJWilkins: Awww Suby, you aren't scared of them are you? grin
Good shot smile
We have cicadas here in Tennessee and they are very loud. I don't know how they make that noise. Amazing isn't it how insects and animals camoflauge themselves?
EJWilkins: They are truly amazing Sugarsnaps, and they've got the perfect camouflage without even having to think about it. Thanks for your comment, it's appreciated. smile
hey ellie,

really cool shot. very well spotted. it is really difficult to spot the ciacada...amazing. i wish i knew how and why the sound was so loud. kind of like a cricket. how does such a loud sound come out of such a small body.
EJWilkins: Hi Nicole, thanks for your comment. smile If you get the email ... drop by again because the 'how' they make the sound has been explained.
  • Mia
  • United States
  • 3 Nov 2006, 04:24
Not sure how they make the noise Ellie, but I'm guessing it has something to do with their legs? Its times like these google comes in handy tongue

liking the colours in the shot! those cicadas were made for camaflouge for sure.
EJWilkins: Hi Mia wink I didn't google, luckily Johnny and Louis have given a brilliant explanation.
Morning ellie, lovely shot. I aint got a clue how the make the noise, or even why, but I do know that we here plenty of them in Joburg.You did very well to make this shot work, due to the cammo. Well done. I have posted a pic you may very well like today (the subject matter that is). Regards, Neil.
EJWilkins: Hi Neil, thanks. Luckily Johnny and Louis have explained how the noise is made and carries so far.
I spotted your shot ... amazing! smile
crisp shot. i like the tree trunk too.
EJWilkins: Thank you Thomas, your comment is welcome. smile
well spotted. how did you see him? wink
EJWilkins: We only spotted it when it moved, and of course it was well above our heads!
  • Chantal
  • Netherlands
  • 3 Nov 2006, 11:39
I agree with robin
EJWilkins: *grin* Thanks Chantal
  • Louis
  • South Africa
  • 3 Nov 2006, 11:51
Yup, this is a good one. Finding them is difficult, I know. The moment you come close enough to start the actual search (with your ears still ringing), they stop and sit very still. They make the noise by rubbing the hind legs against the wings. The wings are very stiff and contributes to sound volume. In the end it is very much the violin principle.

The aspect of sound carrying over long distances has got to do with high amplitude, same as a whistle and similar stuff that uses high amplitude sound waves.

Again one of those insect things that amazes me. That they can continue that rubbing movement at the speed and for the duration that they do.

Although I have been in Europe a number of times in my life, I have never heard one of them - was in fact not aware that there are european cicadas.
EJWilkins: Thanks Louis. It's amazing how such a relatively small creature puts so much effort into making such a huge noise, yet is so well camouflaged as to be virtually invisible .. until it moves!
We heard them driving north from Faro to Lisbon, couldn't stop to investigate, the noise was heard over the car radio and us nattering. I think they may be more common in the south of Europe than the north, but I'm not sure.
  • Abi
  • United Kingdom
  • 3 Nov 2006, 12:20
well camouflaged
EJWilkins: Hi Abi, thanks for dropping by to comment, it's appreciated. smile
Camouflage is allright... incredible... it seems to be a big one, no ?
You were lucky to see it.
EJWilkins: Hi Florence, it was about 4 or 5 centimetres long, I've never seen one before so I don't know if this was a big cicada or an ordinary sized one. We were very lucky. smile
Very well done, the subject is interresting, I can't believe it ! This way to hide himself is a proof the nature is perfect ! Bravo !
EJWilkins: Thanks for your comment Zebigleb, you're right, nature is perfect. smile
  • Ginnie
  • United States
  • 3 Nov 2006, 13:51
It really is amazing, this trick of nature! And to think that we learn from these simple but incredibly complex creatures and attempt to mimic their characteristics of camoflage! The way they make their sound (as commented above) reminds me of the speed of hummingbird wings! Anyway, seeing is believing from your gorgeous capture!
EJWilkins: Thanks Ginnie smile I'm willing to learn anything from nature but I doubt I'll be able to imitate. Did you see the shot of a hummingbird hawk moth? http://neiljt.shutterchance.com/
Very nice catch, no more hiding my cicada!
EJWilkins: Thanks Dotun, it gave itself away when it moved. It was perfectly safe until then, amazing!
  • chris p
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 3 Nov 2006, 17:05
smile spotted Ellie
EJWilkins: Thanks Chris
  • rabby
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 3 Nov 2006, 20:58
nice clarity in this interesting little guy ellie. very well done.
i dont know these insects but if nicole is correct then the sound is incredible for such a small creature, and how an insect can evolve so quickly to camouflage itself is something else. amazing revelations occur by observing nature.
p.s. insects will one day rule the earth!
EJWilkins: Hi Rabby, thanks. This camouflage stuff is pretty amazing, and they did it without having to think about it too!
yes, I heard that about insects. Should we bring back DDT? tongue
voilà une bête qui souhaite se confondre avec la pierre et qui reste de marbre!
EJWilkins: Merci beaucoup Objectif-plume. Je comprends la plupart de ce que vous avez écrit smile
  • Ginnie
  • United States
  • 4 Nov 2006, 01:42
Thanks for the link to Neil's "hummer" moth. That was quite something!

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