Last updated in 2004; new update begun fall 2014, to be concluded in 2017.

About Singing Insects of North America

Construction progress: Work on this site began in September 2000 and by April 2001 enough had been accomplished to go public. At that time the site had 3,293 files requiring 0.68GB of server space. Three years later the site was ca. 90% complete and had 8,127 files in 1.37GB. (See Construction Progress for details.)

This Web site had its genesis in the early 1960's, when R. D. Alexander proposed that the three persons most actively involved in recording the sounds of North American insects cooperate to produce a book entitled The Acoustical Insects of North America, "in sections variously authored" by Richard D. Alexander, Thomas J. Walker, and Thomas E. Moore.

Crickets and Katydids (TJW)

Dick Alexander's initial proposal was never implemented, but it stimulated me to broaden the geographical focus of my research on crickets and katydids to all of America north of Mexico and to secure a series of grants from NSF to support my studies and those of my graduate students. For about 20 years Dick and I worked toward producing a Handbook of Crickets and Katydids. This book was to enable professional biologists and interested amateurs to identify all North American species. Identifications were to be made easier and more accurate by an accompanying disk of their recorded songs. Dick eventually gave priority to other academic activities and suggested that I complete the Handbook on my own. I continued to work on the Handbook, but I too gave priority to other projects.

In 1997, I began to post on the Web completed portions of the Handbook ( In the same year, Sam Droege arranged a contract for me to provide the U. S. Department of Interior representative recordings of North American crickets and katydids. Under this contract, I made .wav files of 200 analog recordings of more than 160 species. In 1999, I put these and other .wav files on the Internet as part of the Web-version of Handbook of Crickets and Katydids, and Tom Moore and I agreed to cooperate on a two-CD set that would make the calling songs of crickets, katydids, and cicadas available to the public. In 2000, the proposed CDs morphed into the current Web site, because Piotr Naskrecki demonstrated the power and attractiveness of at an HTML-mediated, interactive mixture of songs, images, and text by publishing such a mixture on a CD with his Katydids of Costa Rica.

In 1999, John Capinera (grasshopper expert) and Ralph Scott (artist), who had been working on a guide to common U.S. grasshoppers suggested that I join their team in order that crickets and katydids be included in the guide. I gladly accepted their offer and we agreed that we would produce a Field Guide to Grasshoppers, Katydids, and Crickets. In 2002, we completed the initial manuscript; in 2003, Cornell University Press agreed to publish it, and Field Guide to Grasshoppers, Katydids, and Crickets was released early in 2005. [More]

In 2013, having reached the age of 82, I decided it was time to make SINA suitable to deposit in the University of Florida's Institutional Repository. To simplify the question of authorship, it seemed desirable to remove the items on cicadas that Tom Moore had contributed but to update and retain items that I had posted on Florida cicadas.

Cicadas (TEM)

Regrettably, I find that I must withdraw as an author from Tom Walker's Singing Insects of North America (SINA) project. Following a serious auto accident in April, I must now concentrate on regaining my health. Through Tom Walker I will offer any material of mine that had been posted on SINA, whatever might be found useful, to Chris Simon and her crew for Cicada Central. Subject to my progress with medical treatment and physical therapy I will continue to offer any assistance I can to colleagues and to old and new friends interested in cicadas. Please accept my heartfelt apologies, but my decision is unavoidable. [26Sep2014]

Plans (TJW)

SINA should be kept available for all to freely use and, for anyone (or ones) who wishes to do so, to copy to a new web server and offer a modified, improved version to others.

Plans (TJW, September 2014)

SINA should be kept available online for all to freely use—i.e., any person or organization that wishes to do so, may copy the files to a new web server and offer a modified, improved version.

Sep-Dec 2017

During this period SINA will be improved and updated in preparation for T.J. Walker ending his editorship. Two of the improvements will be--

(1) Changing the number of computers serving its files from two to one. Currently most of its 900+wav files are on UF’s “ifasgallery” server, whereas the other 9,600+ files are on UF’s “entnemdept” server.

(2) Modifying the display produced when a user clicks on the image of a waveform or an audiospectrogram of a song so that instead of the graphical display of the song being completely concealed it remains in view and the graphical display of the progress of the playback is moved from the center of the screen to a corner (e.g., the upper left corner). This will enable users of SINA to follow the visual representation of sounds as they are listening to them.