Cicada - the noisiest bug in the insect world by David Clarke

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Cicada - the noisiest bug in the insect world by 

It seems there are dozen of types of cicadas. Whole books are written about them. Their main claim to fame, apart from being a delicacy in Thai and other SE Asian cuisine, is that they are the noisiest bugs around. That fact I can certainly attest to.
We have an apartment in a lovely setting about a mile inland from Kamala Beach in Phuket. We are up a hill so we get a panoramic view of the bay. To the left and rear of our apartment is rain forest, good virgin stuff with hugely tall trees, including durians that bear the most foul smelling fruit in the world. There are large Asian squirrels to be seen, some bird life. And cicadas. Millions of them. They are quite staggeringly noisy insects with a tympanic call that can carry a mile that the males make to attract the females. They start at daybreak with a brief morning chorus of about twenty minutes. Then around early – mid afternoon there is a cacophony that is quiet deafening. And then at sunset there is the finale that sounds like an orchestra of power saws in unison. Each species call is slightly different and a female of a given species will only take note of the call from a male of the same species.
Once they have finished, they look around, see the lights on and try to get into the apartment, banging against the windows and screen doors. Looking at that prehistoric exoskeleton, headaches clearly aren’t a problem.
I found this fellow one morning on the wall outside the bedroom. He was patient, allowing me to take many shots. After that, I gave him a gentle nudge under the wings and he flew away, the beating of the wings sounding like a helicopter.

Head to end of folded wingtips, he was about 2.5" long.

Canon 40D with Canon 70-200mm f4 IS lens at 116mm and with a Canon 12mm extension tube. ISO800 1/100 at f6.3 with flash from the built-in flashgun. Adjusted and cropped in Lightroom

Location: Phuket, Thailand

If you want to see the real prehistoric nature of this enduring insect species – not the individual, they only live from a few hours to a couple of weeks – then view LARGE.

Living for partly in Italy, partly in Phuket and partly in other locations around the world – Hong Kong & Kenya when I can – I spend a lot of time photographing anything and everything. I particularly enjoy the challenge of capturing shots of wildlife large and small – from elephants to insects. A wider selection of my work can be seen on my website at

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  • Konstantinos Arvanitopoulos
    Konstantinos A...about 2 years ago

    24 December 2012 – 1 image per 24hrs

  • You’re welcome, Konstantinos, and thank you!

    – David Clarke

    JUSTARTabout 2 years ago

    nice shot
    remember hearing them in France…very noisy :)

  • Thanks, Sylvia. Very noise doesn’t come close!

    – David Clarke

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