Noisy Summer Ahead for U.S. as Dueling Broods of Cicadas Emerge

This month will see swarms of big, noisy, chirping cicadas begin to emerge in the U.S. as two large broods take flight at the same time.

Cicadas spend years underground feeding on sap from tree roots, before they eventually arise for a single summer of mating and revelry, and then die. This summer two separate broods, one that emerges every 13 years and the other every 17 years, will come up at the same time.

“This is the first time these two broods are going to be emerging in the same year since Thomas Jefferson was in the White House,” entomologist Floyd Shockley, of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, told Reuters. Not since 1803, the year of the Louisiana Purchase, could both broods be heard singing simultaneously.

Male cicadas issue their mating song by vibrating small flaps on their abdomen called tymbals, and interested females respond with a noisy flick of their wings. “I find them delightfully awkward, as they are not particularly agile flyers,” Shockley said. “I also find them captivating and endearing.”

This year, the din of more than a trillion cicadas will be heard in 17 states across the South and Midwest, with the first chorus emerging in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. Mating season will last until July.


Rethinking Monarchs: Does the Beloved Butterfly Need Our Help?

Source link

Leave a Comment