Fall evenings are filled with the sounds of crickets chirping, as males try to attract potential mates. Like many insects, crickets produce sound by rubbing body parts together. To chirp, the teeth-like structures on a wing–shown here in detail–are rubbed against the opposite wing. The rate of chirping varies according to temperature, and in 1897, American physicist Amos Dolbear formulated a law for using the cricket as a thermometer. To get an estimate of the temperature in Fahrenheit, count the number of a cricket’s chirps in 15 seconds and then add 40.
The image shows a digitally-colored scanning electron micrograph of a specimen collected in the Finger Lakes Region, NY. The field of view of this image is 0.5mm wide.
Image courtesy of Ted Kinsman, School of Photographic Arts & Science, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY
"I show the Image of the Week on my projector to get students wondering and talking about biology at the start of the week. I used this particular one to introduce a cricket lab that we do to help with inquiry and the scientific process. When young people have no idea what they are looking at, they can come up with some pretty wild guesses. (Leaf with a disease, comb, teeth on an animal, etc.) The guesses are interesting and keep the kids engaged with the class and current topics."
—Julie Tafelski (Churchill High School, MI)