Posts tagged cicadas

17-year cicadas make their grand entrance in May

Photo by Gerry Broome/Associated Press.

In May, the 17-year cicadas emerged from the ground to reproduce. Photo by Gerry Broome/Associated Press.

The cicadas are back.

With a habitat that ranges from North Carolina to Connecticut, these small insects have dug their way out of the ground to cover trees and click their legs together to create a sound that announces their presence for miles.

Periodical cicadas emerge from the dirt all at once by the millions. A New York Times article said the insects people are seeing this month were born in 1996 and are getting their first view of the world in 17 years. Annual cicadas, on the other hand, appear every summer.

The insects lay their eggs in trees and once the babies hatch, the nymphs crawl directly into the ground. After 17 years of sucking fluid from tree roots, they come out to reproduce. Soon after this, they die.

Periodical cicadas have the longest lifespan of all insects. Because millions emerge at the same time, their ┬ánumbers create a defense. Through years of evolution, they have lost almost all of their defenses – they even fly sluggishly.

Radiolab released a “Cicada Tracker” so people can see when and where they will emerge.

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