17.778 degrees centigrade.
Today I heard what must be the last Cicada of the season. Summer has definitely slipped off to be somewhere warmer for a few months and the leaves are rustling around looking for grounds to leave their trees. So I assume this intrepid insect was desperately presenting his presence one last time.
Cicadas emerge from the soil around trees after feeding on xylem in tree roots for several years (some species spend 17 years underground) and live for at most a couple of weeks in the hopes of reproducing (that’s what the noise is all about). Now the average Cicada is competent and canny for a crunchy critter and it’s also remarkably precise. Cicadas only emerge at 17.778 degrees C, can lower their body temperature by 5 degrees C if it’s getting a bit warmish, can crank out 90dB of Cicadery noise and have 5 eyes. They’re also delicious fried and dipped in chocolate (or so I’m told). But if they’re so clever why don’t they sing a more interesting tune to attract a female? Maybe something like a Wimme Saari techno-ambient yoik. (He’s one of the better known Sami Yoikers from Finland – but I’m sure you knew that already). And, and if they were really smart instead of sitting up in the trees dishing out discord and dissonance, they could simply stick a notice on their favourite tree – maybe like this one:
I wasn’t going to write about Cicadas but sometimes these things just happen and if I didn’t do it now it would be something I’d rue, (also known as a street in France you regret driving down).
Christchurch is getting more buzzy as the rebuild slowly ramps up. We still have big holes in our roads as the pipe-replacement continues although sometimes there is little for a digger-driver to do if he’s waiting for something to happen: