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William V. Ward
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Nelson; Department of Scientific & Industrial Research
New Zealand
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Latitude and Longitude -41.2704, 173.284 Map

Age and Sex
Age not specified, Sex not specified
Courtship, Display, or Copulation
Not Used


Subtitle: Melampsalta nelsonensis. Mr. Dugdale telephoned from the Entomological laboratories of the NZ government Department of Scientific and Industrial Research to say he had captured this cicada, and would I come to the laboratory with my recording gear to tape it for his associate, Dr. Charles Fleming, of Wellington who is the national authority on cicadas of NZ. I found the insect in a wire cage with its food plant, and an electric light bulb shining on it for warmth. Dugdale removed it from the food plant, and it them commenced its calls. Dugdale held the microphone while I operated the recorder. G.V. Hudson's, "Fragments of NZ Entomology" is the standard work; but this name will not be found therein. Dr. Charles A. Fleming and J.S. Dugdale are revising the work, and have proposed the above name, but have not yet described the insect and name for science. Dr. Fleming now has taped most of the cicadas in NZ, and their "voices" are also being used in the taxonomic work. While the microphone listed overleaf is an omnidirectional dynamic, when it is brought this close to a cicada it appears to exhibit the "proximity effect" that a cardoid does; that is, it emphasizes the low frequencies at the expense of the highs. I have found that I get the same effect by placing my ear close to the cicada when I hear the low frequencies, but when I am a few feet away from the insect, my ears pick up the highs not the lows. In order to correct this and get a more natural effect in playback, I attenuate the treble control of my amplifier, and turn down the bass control. My speaker is a British Wharfdale 3-way with tone control, and I also attenuate the treble on this control. It also helps to achieve a more realistic playback by not playing too loudly. Turning up the volume may help to analyze the sound, but not to create reality. Other Behaviors: Reproduction.

Technical Information

Altec 688A

Archival Information

17 Oct 2012 by David McCartt
17 Oct 2012 by David McCartt
17 Oct 2012 by David McCartt

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