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Why is Rudolp's nose red?

Strange Cricket Silence

The evening cricket chorus has gone silent on the island of Kauai. Behind the mystery is a parasite fly that is using male crickets as a factory and incubator for future flies. More gruesome than a science fiction movie, this is real. Dr. Biology talks with biologist Marlene Zuk about how Nature has come to the rescue of male crickets so they can mate and also live to see another day.

Content Info | Transcript


MP3 download | 12MB

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Topic Time
Intro 00:00
The short story of cricket song silence. 01:51
Like something out of the movie Alien, but for real. 03:06
Looks like a cricket, walks like a cricket, but it is just a shell. 04:30
What's a male cricket to do to avoid parasitic flies? 04:45
Enter silent crickets. 06:31
Each cricket species has their own unque song? 07:31
Is it only the males that sing/call? 07:54
How do crickets make their sound? 08:22
Tell the temperature by a cricket chirp. [Formula, Formula2, Calculator] 09:23
Why are male crickets now silent? 10:04
How quick was the change in wing structure? 10:56
Male wing change is genetic not something the cricket does to itself. 12:00
What would happen if there were no male singing crickets? 12:50
Evolution you can see in a lifetime. [20 cricket generations - 5 years] 13:11
Change happened in the wild - in the natural world. 14:08
Do non-singing crickets ever have parasites? 14:31
Once the flies have been stopped - now there is another problem - how to find a mate.. 14:45
If this evolution continues won't we end up with no singing males? 15:52
Seeing evolution in action. 16:37
Understanding Evolution website. [quiet cricket section] 16:52
What is happening to the flies now that the crickets have stopped singing? 17:50
Hawaii must be a rough place to have to work. 19:02
Three questions 19:54
When did you first know you were going to be a biologist? 20:02
What would you be if you could not be a biologist? 20:51
What advice do you have someone who wants to be a biologist? 21:37
Sign-off 22:51

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Strange Cricket Silence

Audio editor: CJ Kazilek

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Share to Google Classroom

Be part of Ask A Biologist

by volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a Volunteer page to get the process started.