'Trillions' of cicadas to emerge after spending nearly 2 decades underground

'Trillions' of cicadas to emerge after spending nearly 2 decades underground

Classified into 12 “broods”, the current brood (Brood X) is considered the largest and is showing up this year as part of their 17-year cycle.

Cicadas are set to emerge after spending almost two decades underground across the United States. Over the next few weeks, inhabitants of the East Coast and the Midwest region in the United States may witness an unexpected surge in the number of cicadas who are set to emerge from the dark throes of the Earth.

One can expect the insects to shed their skins and emerge from the ground to participate in a month-long mating ritual. And it’s expected to be quite a performance. The cicadas climb trees as part of the mating rituals and also sing mating songs as loud as 100 decibels!

An entomologist at the American Museum of Natural History, Dr Jessica Ware told CBS News that this is going to be a “pretty big event”. Ware added that trillions of cicadas will emerge and sing in hopes of finding a mate in the backyard of Americans in the weeks to come.

Living most of their lives underground as “nymphs”, cicadas are the longest-living insects in the world. Cicadas survive underground by feeding on the roots of trees for over 12 to 17 years, which varies according to the species.

Classified into 12 “broods”, the current brood (Brood X) is considered the largest and is showing up this year as part of their 17-year cycle.

But Ware believes that this has nothing to do with time, but is in fact influenced by an array of factors, including hormonal changes complemented by changes in temperature.

Sadly for cicadas, they don’t have a long lifespan. After emerging from underground, the insects have three to four weeks to effectively mate. Within their period they’re also expected to lay their eggs…. Before they die out.

Essentially, the insects spend their formative years underground and when they finally have a chance to come to the surface they only have three to four weeks to complete all tasks.

'Trillions' of cicadas to emerge after spending nearly 2 decades underground
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Cicadas don’t pose any harm to human beings, opposed to popular belief. Ware further claimed that their primary goal is to find mates and to lay eggs. Ironically enough, cicadas are threatened by humans for over development in urban centres has decimated cicada populations.

And owing to climate change, which is essentially a man-made disaster - many cicadas are emerging from the ground earlier than expected which could a profound impact on their life cycles in the long run.

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