How Do Cicadas Make So Much Noise?


For such little creatures, cicadas can make an earsplitting racket. Though they spend most of their lives hiding quietly underground, when they finally emerge—after as many as 17 years underground—they make a chirping, whirring sound that can get as loud as a rock concert.

In the short National Geographic video “Cicadas Can Damage Your Hearing,” wildlife filmmaker and photographer Sandesh Kadur explains exactly how, and why, cicadas make so much noise. It turns out that the cicada’s deafening buzz serves a romantic purpose—male cicadas sing to attract a mate. And all that noise is made possible by the cicada’s hollow abdomen, which allows it to amplify its song in much the same way as a guitar. Check out the short video above to learn exactly how the cicada manages to get so loud, and hear some of its “romantic” humming for yourself.

Banner Image Credit: National Geographic, YouTube.