Many animals and insects can make noises that help them talk to each other, find a mate or defend themselves. Learn about these noisemakers, featured on our poster created exclusively for the National Science Teachers Association, and listen to their sounds below.
Most bats are covered in hair that can be yellow, tan or black, and they usually have long wings and sharp teeth. They are nocturnal, which means they stay awake at night and have to use clicking and popping sounds to find their way through the dark. This recording has been slowed down by a factor of 10.
Adult cicadas come in many colors from greenish-yellow to black, and they have big eyes and two pairs of wings. Cicadas have parts on their bodies called “tymbals,” which they vibrate to make loud sounds. You can hear groups of cicadas from more than a mile away!
Click beetles have somewhat flattened bodies and come in many colors. When you place these beetles on their backs, they can snap the top and bottom halves of their bodies and flip in the air, making a clicking sound.
Honey bees are yellow with brown or black bands around their stomachs. They live in groups called colonies, where you can find thousands of bees. While flying, honey bees average a speed of 15 miles per hour and make a buzzing noise.
House crickets are light yellowish-brown in color with three dark bands on their heads. You can find them in warm areas where there is water and food. House crickets have different chirping “songs” for fighting, sounding an alarm or attracting a mate.
House flies are dark gray and oval-shaped, and you often can find them near garbage cans, pet areas or uncovered food. This insect can fly up to 4 ½ miles per hour, and its wings hum when they flap.
Most katydids are green or brown, and their wings look like leaves. Thousands of katydid species call the world’s tropical areas home, but others live in cool, dry areas of the United States. The katydid’s name comes from the male’s “song,” which sounds like “Katydid, Katydidn’t!”
Longhorned beetles often have antennae that are as long as or longer than their bodies, which are shaped like cylinders. These beetles make squeaking sounds by scraping ridges on their head against their thorax.
Adult mosquitoes have thin legs, and females use a mouth part called a “proboscis” to draw blood from humans and animals. They are most active from dusk to dawn, when they can fly up to 14 miles for a meal. Mosquitoes make a whining sound instead of a buzz.
Pigeons are usually brown or gray with short bills, thick feathers, rounded tails and reddish feet. You can find them in twig or grass nests on buildings, ledges, barns and cliffs or under bridges. They travel in flocks and coo to attract mates or call out to their friends.
Audio credit: Borror Laboratory of Bioacoustics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, all rights reserved.