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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Sounds coming from trees


I recently visited Prineville Oregon and was amazed one morning when I went out for a walk in the desert and it seemed as though all of the trees around me were infested with something making clicking sounds. It was very intense. Later that afternoon it stopped. I returned to the same area recently and there were absolutely no sounds this time. I looked closely into the trees using binoculars but could not see anything moving or unusual. Can you tell me what this was?

Thank you.

Dear Maggie - Without being able to hear the sound myself, I can only offer a couple of guesses. Usually, I would suspect something in the order Orthoptera (grasshoppers, crickets, katydids, etc.), as they tend to be the noisiest insects around, but there also are some cicadas in the genus Platypedia that do not possess the usual sound-producing organs typical of cicadas, but instead make clicking sounds with their wings. You can find an audio clip of their 'call' at as well as at (this site also has clips of many other cicada species).

Sorry not to of more definitive help,

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Ed Saugstad


Will accept most questions in general entomology, including those related to medical entomology, taxonomy, ecology, arthropod surveillance, and pest management. If you are requesting a 'mystery bug' identification, PLEASE either attach an image to your question, or post an image on a web page (such as Flickr) so that I can look at it, as verbal descriptions frequently are insufficient for a definitive identification.


21 years in the U.S. Army as a medical entomologist; duties varied from surveillance of pest populations (including mosquitoes, cockroaches, ticks, and stored products pests) to conducting research on mosquito-virus ecological relationships and mosquito faunal studies. Ten years as a civilian analyst for the Department of Defense, primarily on distribution of vector-borne diseases worldwide. Limited experience on surveillance of agricultural insects in North Dakota and Indiana.

Entomological Society of America, West Virginia Entomological Society, Society for Vector Ecology, National Speleological Society, West Virginia Association for Cave Studies.

American Journal of Public Health, Contributions of the American Entomological Institute, Japanese Journal of Sanitary Zoology, Journal of Economic Entomology, Mosquito News, and Mosquito Systematics.

B.S. in entomology from North Dakota State University in 1963, M.S. in entomology from Purdue University in 1967.

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