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Listening In On Insect Communication

This treehopper in a greenhouse at Saint Louis University would not normally have a purple horn or "pronotum." It was painted that color for identification purposes. (Véronique LaCapra/St. Louis Public Radio)
This treehopper in a greenhouse at Saint Louis University would not normally have a purple horn or "pronotum." It was painted that color for identification purposes. (Véronique LaCapra/St. Louis Public Radio)

On a warm autumn night, it can sound like there are insects all over the place, calling out from every front lawn, bush and tree branch. But most of what insects are saying to one another, we can't hear.

With the help of evolutionary ecologist Kasey Fowler-Finn, St. Louis Public Radio's Véronique LaCapra listened in on the hidden world of insect communication and one bug's unusual love songs. Fowler-Finn says the treehoppers’ sounds resemble little whale calls.

"I love them," she says. "They're super cute, they're full of personality, and are just a lot of fun to listen to."

  • Read more via St. Louis Public Radio
  • Guest

  • Véronique LaCapra, science reporter for St. Louis Public Radio. She tweets @KWMUscience.
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