Cicada Explosion

This week’s blog is written by Joanna G., a Brookies alumni. Joanna attended the academy to learn more about fisheries biology. She hopes to pursue a career in stream ecology and fluvial geomorphology. Joanna’s current hobbies are biking, hiking, and reading. She currently participates in her high school’s marching band playing the flute, and she is hoping to participate in her school’s Envirothon club this fall. Joanna also volunteers at her local library and is being trained as a volunteer at a cat rescue.

Earlier this year, there was a big news story across the Atlantic coast: a cicada invasion. Apparently, the clumsy, harmless, yet loud species of cicada in the area had a relative, one that only comes out every thirteen to seventeen years. Its black body and red eyes made their emergence rather frightening for those who saw it: millions upon millions of these things emerging from holes in the ground in the middle of the night, swarming up the trees in a zombie-like cadence. Though I did not witness any emergences, I did see signs of their coming several weeks in advance. Some animals, including dogs and foxes, began clawing at the ground. They heard the cicadas moving around, and their instincts told them that digging them up would provide a nice treat. After the cicadas’ emergence, which happened a bit later than predicted in my area because of a cold front, any forested area suddenly exploded in sound. Unlike the yearly cicada, whose song rose and fell in unison, these new cicadas exuberated a constant droning, which in some places were so loud it made your ears ring. Soon, these creepy insects were littering the roads and being gobbled up by birds, rodents, and just about any animal that could fit them in their mouth. People began daring each other to eat them, making a protein-infused twist on recipes like chocolate chip cookies. I personally did not partake because I have a shellfish allergy, and cicadas are closely related to crustaceans and have been proven to cause allergic reactions in people with allergies to shellfish.

The Brood X Cicada, which only emerges in the Mid-Atlantic Region every 13-17 years.

It seemed that a cicada craze had consumed most of the East Coast. Within a few weeks these cicadas disappeared, their mating duties done, and this odd species was soon forgotten by the media and general public. However, I hope to remember this amazing ecologic phenomenon, and I will be counting down the years until their next occurrence.

The photo used in this blog was sourced from the internet. It can be found here.