Now, the cicadas are, almost without Exception, musical. But their song is produced exclusively by the male insects, who are provided for the purpose with a curious resonant, drum-like instrument. It consists of a cavity with a stretched membrane, whose vibration, controlled by muscles, sets up the familiar chirping or stridulating noise so well known to all who have lived in Italy. In warm sunshine these insect vocalists keep up a continuous concert of sweet sounds, intended no doubt to attract the females. Resonators in the body increase the volume of the note, and make it carry further; we had one cicada in our house in Jamaica which sang so loud that we always knew it as the prima donna. We were wrong in the gender, I admit: we ought rather to have said the first tenor; for the females have no song: a fact much commented upon by the malicious Greek poet— doubtless a married man, tied to a loquacious Athenian lady :—
Happy the cicadas' lives
Since they all have voiceless wives.