Yes, More Cicadas

Robert Evans Snodgrass’s Insects: Their Ways and Means of Living, first published in 1930 and then republished by Dover, has an excellent chapter on the periodical cicadas with some fine illustrations. Turns out the abdomen of the adult is mostly hollow.

The newly emergent adult cicada has to harden off and darken over a few hours before getting down to business. Most of them do this at night, but there are sooo many that you can find them in this soft, vulnerable stage during the day, too.

Business! And so, after seventeen years, a new generation of Brood X begins. The female cuts nest chambers into the underside of twigs of trees and shrubs and deposits her eggs into these. She has 400-600 eggs and lays two dozen or so in each nest. Larvae drop down on to the ground when they are about 1/12th of an inch long. Then they burrow down to become subterranean. They spend all those years underground growing larger, slowly. Usually they are no more than two feet below.

Massospora cicadina, a deadly fungus, claims many of the cicadas, rotting the abdomen out. This is one of those “zombie” pathogens that take control of the animal, as detailed here.

I got some shots of female and male Pharaoh Cicadas that WordPress won’t upload here for some reason. Too damn sexy, I guess.

Passing the plate… if you’d like to donate to the cost of this blog.

1 Response to “Yes, More Cicadas”


  1. 1 Paul Lamb May 31, 2021 at 6:30 am

    I guess my part of the country (Missouri) is not within the range for Brood X. Well, we have enuf braying politicians to fill the air with noise.


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