Most of the times, chirps of crickets are love songs to attract mates. However, at times, they can also lure death:
The parasites, called Ormia ochracea, burrow into their amorous hosts and then, after a week or so of feeding on organs, tear their way out, killing the cricket as they emerge. Researchers have known this for some time, and in fact it has caused the wings of one species of cricket, in Hawaii, to evolve to the point that they cannot produce the traditional mating sound.
Scientists now find the danger posed by the parasites can rewire cricket love lives, drastically altering how males sing and females respond when parasites are around.
"It's a complex tradeoff we see here. If you're a male and don't sing, you're less likely to get females but more likely to live longer, and if you do sing, you attract both females and parasites," explained animal behaviorist Jane Brockmann at the University of Florida at Gainesville.