Check out this Official Postcrossing card from… oh, Pennsylvania – my state! By the title that covers about a quarter of the card, plus the subjects that the title refers to that cover the rest, you can probably guess what we’re gonna talk about today. How many of you have heard the song of the cicadas? For those who have heard it, it’s pretty darn distinct, no? Let’s learn a bit about it! Most male cicadas produce a sound that’s akin to a mix between a whine and a screech. It’s made by an organ in their abdomen known as a tymbal. A tymbal in this context is like a ribbed membrane that vibrates when the cicada flexes its muscles. One source likened it to a bendy straw, where you can expand and contract that ribbed portion near the top. (Imagine that texture, but on a small patch of a cicada’s belly… hope you’re not skeeved out yet!) Of course, cicadas do it a lot, lot faster… and way louder! Some cicadas’ songs can even surpass 100 decibels – that’s as loud as a motorcycle! Seeing as these are courtship calls, I’ve gotta applaud these male cicadas for their far-reaching efforts to get the ladies. And now, time for a fun anecdote! As a kid, I was big into collecting cicada molts that I’d find on the backyard trees. Like no joke, I had dozens of them that I’d keep in a glass case, all looking outward with their beady, hollowed eyes, wondering what this loser was doing with a shrine of exoskeletons. What can I say, they just jived well with the feng shui of my bedroom. And, when it was time for family gatherings? Step 1: withdraw exactly one cicada molt. Step 2: place it on the shoulder of an unsuspecting partygoer. Step 3: acquire popcorn and enjoy hearing a different type of 100+ decibel cry. Don’t trust me during the summer. Thank you lots for this awesome postcard!