Posted by: DarkEyedJunc0 | June 3, 2013

A Story 17 Years in the Making…

Okay, admission time… I am not your average “chick.” I LOVE creepy, crawly things…. I don’t kill spiders, I “relocate” them if I feel we can’t live harmoniously and when there are no birds to view, I “bug!”

When I realized we are at the 17th year of the 17 year magicicada cycle for Brood II, I knew I’d be dedicating some time to chasing these ruby-eyed beauties! Luckily, my partner-in-crime, RF, is on the very same wavelength as me.

So, like most couples who decide where to eat, drink and be merry on a Friday night, we do too, but we just make our plans around the largest emergence to date – in Westfield, NJ

The authors of this story really did go "chase" Cicadas - Why wait another 17 years?

The authors of this story really did go “chase” Cicadas – Why wait another 17 years?

Cicadas are amazing creatures...

Last year, we were fortunate enough to see an annual (or “dog day”) Cicada emerge at the Meadowlands…. (visit the this.great.planet archives to see it emerge)  but………..

this year, the focus is on the Brood II Periodical Cicadas – 

Here are some neat facts about Periodical Cicadas…..

    • Brood II is one of 15 broods in the US, and is found on the East Coast (CT, MD, NC, NJ, NY, PA, DE, VA, DC.)
    • There are 3 different types of cicadas that make up the Genus “Magicicada” for the 17-year cycle cicadas:
      • Magicicada septendecim
      • Magicicada cassini
      • Magicicada septendecula
    • Contrary to popular beliefs, they are not “locusts.”
    • They are gentle creatures.. they do not bite or sting… there is no reason to be afraid!

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    • Be forewarned, these “friendly” creatures are known to fly up on you, and hitch a ride, but they mean well!

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An amazing journey……

The nymphs of periodical cicadas live a foot or more underground, and feed on plant root juices. Then, every 17 years, they tunnel, and surface, only to emerge once the soil is a constant 64 degrees F. The nymphs will climb and cling to trees, buildings, etc… until they complete their emergence as adults and their exoskeletins have hardened.

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Nymphs cling to a building in Westfield, NJ

Close-up of an empty shell still clinging to the building.

Close-up of an empty shell still clinging to the building.

nymphs on a tree

nymphs on a tree

 

...sometimes, they don't make through the process.. luckily, there are millions more!

…sometimes, they don’t make through the process.. luckily, there are millions more!

Once they emerge… VIOLA!   A beautiful, gentle creature

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Next, they spend their remaining days mating and laying eggs.  It is thought that male cicadas will mate multiple times, while females typically mate only once.

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Within weeks of emergence, they will die, having fulfilled their sole purpose: to reproduce.

Godspeed, little fellas. See you in 2030!

Want to read on? Visit the following links:

http://www.cicadamania.com

http://magicicada.org/

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/science/a-century-of-cicadas.html?ref=science

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/04/science/rise-of-the-cicadas-paralyzes-those-with-insect-phobia.html?ref=science&_r=0

http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2013/06/04/science/CICADA.html?ref=science

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