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 (http://csssrvr.entnem.ufl.edu/~walker/handbook/wwwhndbk.html). 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]
Our first priority is to post, as part of Singing Insects of North America (SINA), those images, sounds, descriptions, and ideas that are readily available to us and that will aid those seeking to identify North American crickets, katydids, and cicadas. We will encourage others to contribute, especially where there are significant gaps in our materials.
Our next priority is to complete the part of SINA that we have termed "About Songs."
For those using SINA via modem connections to the Internet, the downloading of images and songs will be slow and painfully slow respectively. At some stage of SINA's completion we may offer a CD-R version. Such a version would give almost instant access to all of SINA's content and could be used without an Internet connection.
Beyond those more immediate goals, in keeping with our mortality, we will seek to provide for others to continue and improve SINA.