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illustration: cicada

August 2, 2013

cicata

It is mid-summer and the sounds of cicadas fill our days in suburbia. The presence of cicadas actually soothes me, reminding me of many fun summers.

Here are some facts about cicadas in a nutshell:

Cicada nymphs burrow underground for the majority of their lives. Later in life, they emerge from holes in the dirt, climb up trees and molt their skin to grow into adults with wings.

From their abdomens, the males produce a distinct song in hopes of finding a mate. The males cling from high in the trees, resonating as far as the sound can reach.

Not long after mating, cicadas die, but before that, the females lay their eggs in branches. Eventually, the eggs drop to the ground. Nymphs hatch and dig down into the dirt to live in tunnels. The nymphs eat roots while adults eat sap from trees like Oak, Maple and Willow. Depending on the brood, the lifespan of cicadas is 2 to 17 years.

Did the 17-year Magicicada brood visit you this year?

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