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Study of 17-Year Cicada Choruses Reveals Dependence on Light Levels

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A shedding cicada.

University of Kansas researchers found the Kansan brood of 17-year cicadas very sensitive to the local sound and light environment.

Credit: Scott Campbell/Kansas Biological Survey

Researchers at the University of Kansas (KU) have found that the Kansan brood (Brood IV) of 17-year cicadas are very sensitive to the local sound and light environment.

The researchers set up a team of citizen-scientists to collect 20 simultaneous recordings of cicada choruses at Clinton State Park in Kansas.

The researchers used a combination of mathematical, statistical, and computational methods to analyze the cicada chorus recordings, and found several effects related to a speed-up in callings due to light levels: faster volume oscillations, bigger volume oscillations, and more synchrony.

The team also found that increasing light levels high in the forest canopy increased cicada activity.

Said KU's Dan Reuman, "Tracking behaviors precisely in specific animal populations helps us predict what other changes might be coming — and possibly be able to make adjustments accordingly."

From KU News
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