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Last updated in 2004; new update begun fall 2014, to be concluded in 2019.

About Singing Insects of North America

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 (2000) demonstrated the power and attractiveness of 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 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, 26 Sep 2014)

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.

Plans (TJW, 27 Sep 2014)

Because Tom Moore’s contributions could be removed from SINA, TJW was free to plan the fate of the sections devoted to crickets and katydids. These plans changed as circumstances changed and opportunities emerged. These changes in TJW's plans, with dates assigned, are described below.

27 Nov 2014
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.

This plan was compatible with my intent, at the time, to post the final version of SINA on UF’s Institutional Repository (IR@UF) in its subcollection entitled “Entomological Research of T.J. Walker.” There it would be permanently accessible online to all with no limitations as to reuse [other than attribution].

2 July 2017
On 2 July 2017, I learned that David Weissman had emailed David Rentz (a member of the Board of the Orthopterists’ Society [OS]) about my concern that if, in the future, SINA were hosted only by UF/IFAS (as it was then), it might eventually be taken offline because it was no longer updated. Rentz immediately brought my concerns to the OS Board and it agreed unanimously that SINA “was well worth supporting.” Since then I’ve twice communicated with Rentz about delays and progress in updating SINA prior to turning it over to the OS. The first time (3 Mar2017) I told him that I had had a serious illness but was recovering from it and, before being hospitalized had hired Teresa Cooper to take charge of maintaining and updating the SINA website with her first task being to make the file structure of SINA easier to navigate and edit. In Rentz's reply to my email, I learned that he was keeping David Hunter, OS Executive Director fully informed about progress in updating SINA and making it easier to host.

6 Dec 2018
On 6 Dec 2018, I informed Rentz that I had decided to add a new component to SINA--viz. a digital catalog of the Ensifera in the Florida State Collection of Arthropods (FSCA). This includes not only specimens collected by TJW and his colleagues during their studies of North American crickets and katydids and their studies of the same two groups in the Caribbean. Furthermore, tape-recorded specimens in both studies are labeled to associate the specimen with its recording(s) in the Walker Tape Library (WTL). Most of the WTL recordings were later archived in Cornell’s Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds (MLNS). Audio-recorded specimens in FSCA have labels that give the MLNS accession numbers. In the digital FSCA catalog, these numbers can be made live links to the wav files in the MLNS.

Plans (DBW & others, 14-22 Jan 2019)

On 14 Jan 2019, David Weissman initiated an email conversation that eventually involved Teresa Cooper, special assistant to TJW and SINA webmaster; Derek Woller, webmaster for the Orthopterists’ Society (OS); and Maria Marta Cigliano, an author of OS’s Orthoptera Species File Online. David W’s email expressed his concern that the SINA species pages for Gryllus spp. should be updated ASAP to give maximum access to the results of his decades-long studies of Gryllus spp., especially in the U.S. West. Those results are in manuscript and are to be published by May 2019. (In this work, his co-author, David Gray, reports his genome-based phylogeny of Gryllus spp.). David W. knew that TJW planned to transfer the maintenance and updating of SINA to OS once he ended his editorship but did not know the status of that plan. TJW was sidelined from the conversation by family responsibilities but read the emails about the current update and the eventual transfer of SINA to OS. What he read seemed compatible with what he now plans for SINA’s update and transfer to OS.

Plan for completing SINA's current update (TJW, 29 Jan 2019)

This plan for the permanent online presence of SINA seems compatible with the email conversation reported above.

The Orthopterists’ Society will become fully responsible for the content of SINA no later than when the 18 species of Gryllus presently covered by SINA are reduced to 17 by a synonymy and their species pages updated and the 18 species that are presently absent from SINA are added to it. Teresa Cooper will participate in all phases of seeing that the 35 Gryllus species recognized by Weissman & Gray (2019) are appropriately represented in SINA. This will insure that should TJW become unable to continue his role in SINA, Teresa could continue hers with minimal supervision and be paid from the same endowment that currently supports her.

[Construction progress (not yet updated): 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.)]