by Kurt Zuelsdorf
Dog days, dripping dew & dastardly storms are the reaccurring theme these days, but have you noticed the nightly noises are louder than ever! The approaching full moon pulled me out of bed long before daylight streaked the surface of a choppy bay off Shell Island. It was clear to me that noise pollution had built up in my ears as all I could hear was the distant traffic crossing the Skyway bridge. Then, like an inner ear plane flight pop - all was clear.
No less then a mile from Ft Desoto's dense foliage I could here them, ratcheting and buzzing to one another. Sister Island's swarm chimed in and the Cabbage Key crowd raised the decibel level above any traffic noise! Why, just this morning I found the molted shell of a huge fly-like creature crimped on the side of my truck tire... they're everywhere! All day and into the night the male singers flex their abdomen belly muscles against a rib membrane and with the help of a hollow tummy to amplify the sound our Cicada is the loudest insect on the planet!
“There are some that are basically as loud as a jet engine taking off,” said Jeff Cole, a Ph.D. candidate at Kansas University’s ecology and evolutionary biology department. “The loudest species can get up to 120 decibels, which is about the pain threshold of human ears.”
So if today's Moon doesn't have you stirring in your sleep you won't be alone, the song of the Summer Cicada will keep playing over, and over, and over again...can you hear it now?
Kurt Zuelsdorf. Writer, Urban Tracker, Outdoor Enthusiast at Kayak Nature Adventures kayak and sup rentals