Investigation: How Does Temperature and Humidity Affect the Frequency of Cricket Chirps?


Crickets “chirp” by rubbing their wings or legs over each other.  This phenomenon is known as stridulation.  It is a means by which male crickets “call” to females to communicate their interest in mating.

Frequency refers to the number of chirps that crickets produce during a period of time. Some have suggested that you can tell the temperature and the humidity based on how fast crickets chirp.

Since it may be difficult to gather data on cricket chirps, since they most likely produce sounds at dusk, this simulation can be used to detemine which variable, temperature or humidity, has the greatest affect on chirp frequency.

On a separate page, that will be turned in, complete the exercises below.

1. Develop a hypothesis that states how cricket chirps are affected by increases in temperature and increases in humidity. This hypothesis should be in a complete sentence, and often is in the form of an if-then statement. Multiple statements are acceptable.

2. For each of the crickets shown below, determine the frequency of chirps by counting the number you hear. Your job is to organize your observations into a data table.

3. Analyze the data you have gathered to answer the following questions in complete and coherent sentences.

a) How does temperature affect the number of chirps?

b) How does humidity affect the number of chirps?

c) Identify the independent (experimental) variable in this experiment.

d) Identify the dependent (responding) variable in this experiment.

e) Suggest another experiment that could be performed on crickets and chirping.

f) Why should you only use male crickets in these experiments?