Heat helps sexy cicadas hit high notes

THEIR ear-piercing calls are likely to be louder than anything heard at this year’s Tamworth Country Music Festival.

But the male cicadas are not providing this raucous soundtrack to summer purely for our entertainment.

These lovesick lotharios have only one thing on their minds: sex – and lots of it.

Cicadas live underground for years before emerging and spending the last few weeks of their lives reproducing.

The near-deafening din – rivalling that of a chainsaw – is a mating call the males use to seduce females.

University of Sydney veterinary professor David Emery has been intrigued by cicadas and their curious habits since he was a child.

He said last year’s record heat was a factor in the appearance of so many insects subjecting locals to a louder-than-usual cacophony.

“They’re out in massive numbers this year,” he said.

“This season we’ve seen the emergence of most of the big species that we have commonly in NSW. August and September were the hottest on record in NSW and that’s probably one of the triggers that’s brought them out.

“And the heat will certainly make them sing.”

Professor Emery said the cicadas’ chirping would likely continue to ring in the ears of Tamworthians until February.

“Most of the mating is done within the first week of emergence and then the female dies and you’re only left with old male strutting his stuff,” he said.

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