Book Review: The Song of Insects

by Juli Wilcox | March 31, 2007

The Songs of InsectsLang Elliott and moderator, Wil Hershberger, have put together an unusual reference book or field guide comprised of excellent photos, text descriptions and songs of two insect orders: Orthoptera (crickets, katydids and grasshoppers) and Homoptera (cicadas, leafhoppers and aphids).

Seventy-five (75) species are detailed in the book, their profiles complete with large, unambiguous, high-quality photos and easy to read text on glossy paper. Text includes insect habits, likely local locations, range maps, physical identification tips, a song description, and sonogram for the visually oriented. The book is complete with a compact disc (CD) of the insect songs. Wil, with a mellifluous voice, fairly mesmerizes the listener as he narrates the CD.

A unique photographic aspect of the book is white-background full body portraits of the insects that complement close-up photos on natural backgrounds. The inquiring reader will have no difficulty discerning field marks, shapes or critical details.

© Wil Hershberger

Curious nature photographers, collectors, bug nuts, macro enthusiasts and very picky sound effects producers would do well to pick up this book for reference. Even children in elementary school will find the photos intriguing. The photos, descriptions of song variations and quality of recordings are simply first-rate.

For further information please see Wil’s article at, The White Box Design and Technique – Soft, Even Lighting for Your Macro Subjects.

The Songs of Insects may be purchased via

© Wil Hershberger

About the Author

Recently retired from 38 years in rural special education services, Juli Wilcox is a writer-photographer-editor and project consultant for other nature photographers. She is working on her first book, proceeds of which will benefit The Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund.

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