Scientists recreate the song of long-lost insect to help find it again
    VIDEO

    SOCIETY  13 August 2022 - 05:31

    After 150 years sitting silently in a museum, a strange specimen has now sung its song once more.

    Scientists have digitally recreated the sound of a long-lost species of insect, not seen since 1869, by creating 3D scans of its wings. The specifics of the tune could help track down living specimens in the wild – if there are any left, New Atlas reports.

    Prophalangopsis obscura is a species of katydid, a grasshopper-like insect, but not much is known about it because only a single specimen has ever been collected. The lonely holotype, a 10-cm-long (4-in) male, was recovered from somewhere in India in the mid-19th century, before being donated to the London Natural History Museum where it was first scientifically described in 1869.

    And it hasn’t been seen since, despite scientists’ best efforts. The closest match may have come from a 2009 paper describing two female katydids found in Tibet that look suspiciously similar to the solo P. obscura specimen, but because of differences between the sexes it’s impossible to tell whether they’re from the same species or a closely related one.

    Now, a team of scientists has found a unique way to help the search. Like their cricket relatives, katydids are known to rub their wings or legs together to make noise that attracts mates. So the researchers scanned the wings of the specimen, created 3D images of their surface structure, and figured out their resonant frequency.

    From that, they were able to determine that it produces a pure-tone song, around a frequency of 4.7 kHz. They then reproduced the insect’s song digitally. Have a listen below:

    It might sound similar to any cricket you’d expect to hear on a warm summer night, but from that song the scientists can actually infer quite a lot of information about where the insect might be found, if any still exist in the wild.

    Caliber.Az




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