Voices of diversity



Take a stroll at dusk and listen in the dark to the chorus of voices that stir the air: melodioustrills of the field crickets at your feet; the soft, tinkling chimes of delicate tree crickets; thezzips and buzzes of meadow bush crickets, the loud, harsh notes of katydids high in the treesand the barely audible, rapid clicks of bats flitting by. Take a walk in the noonday heat andlisten carefully to the grass, and hear the clicks, buzzes, and claps, the noisy medley of grasshoppersobscured occasionally by a head-throbbing din from the trees: a resonance of cicadas.Surely this describes an idyllic forest; but no, this is our campus! An urban campus in a sea of automobile noise and noxious fumes, an oasis nevertheless to so many species big and small. Many of the voices belong in fact to those small, inconspicuous, much trampled upon, sixleggedcreatures called insects, in particular to a group that I have grown to know and love, the Orthoptera or 'straight-winged'.

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