Project Description

Letter of Recommendation: Crickets

For the Letter of Recommendation column at The New York Times Magazine

Insects had the earth about 400 million years before we did. For centuries stacked on centuries, what a great whirling, stirring buzz it must have been: the pulsing thrums of cicadas, tiny whine of mosquitoes and droning hum of bees. Though it has certainly quieted down a bit during the past few hundred years, every night the persistent cricket presses on. Stubborn stridulating cricket! Chirp, chirp, chirp, as if nothing has changed for millenniums.

A field cricket lazes all day in its burrow. Then, in the evening, just when you’re ready to relax, out comes the well-rested cricket with its own built-in instrument, ready to make a ruckus. The instrument is in two parts: on the top of the lower wing a rough blade called a scraper; on the underside of the upper wing a row of bumps, like teeth. Scraper saws teeth. And scraper saws teeth. And scraper saws teeth.

Continue reading at The New York Times Magazine.

{{Illustration by Chloe Scheffe for The New York Times Magazine.}}