Perfect Pitch

Scientists discover a parasitic fly with an unusual ear for cricket songs

ALL SUMMER LONG, MALE FIELD CRICKETS CAN BE heard singing love songs to lure willing mates. But female crickets are not the only creatures these songs attract. Researchers reporting in Science magazine say they have found a tiny fly of the Ormia genus that can home in on a singing male as quickly as any lovesick cricket. How do they do it? With a hearing organ that works remarkably like a cricket's ear.

Mosquitoes and other flies that make noise have feathery antennas to pick up low-frequency fly buzzing. Crickets, by contrast, make high-frequency chirps that require mechanisms much akin to...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!