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No. 80: Mar-Apr 1992

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Cricket Coordination

In the August 31, 1991, issue of Science News, there appeared an item on the famous synchronously flashing fireflies of Southeast Asia. W. Clements, writing in response to the firefly story, asserts that Indian crickets chirping in unison are much more impressive. He wrote:

"I once rode on the back of a truck at night along mountain roads in India. There the crickets sound out quite loudly. The sound swells and diminishes with a persistent beat. As we drove along mile after mile, there was not the tiniest perceptible change in the rhythm. In other words, the insects we listened to at any point were modulating their sound at exactly the same frequency, if not phase, maintained by their contemporaries many miles back. Considering the vast areas that must be represented wherever it occurs, the phenomenon must involve unimaginable millions of insects all acting in concert. This is vastly more impressive than the spectacle of fireflies performing together in a single tree."

Picture, if you will, millions, perhaps billions, of crickets all moving their limbs together in unison over many square miles!

(Clements, Warner; "Flashy Displays," Science News, 140:323, 1991.)

From Science Frontiers #80, MAR-APR 1992. 1992-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987