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IPFS News Link • Biology, Botany and Zoology

Cicadas Are Coming: Rare 'Dual Emergence' Could Awaken a Trillion Bugs of 2 Species...

•, By Andy Corbley

No one alive today will see it again—the convergence of two cicada broods that will practically shake the Midwest with their chirping.

The appearance of cicadas en mass is one of the most amazing natural phenomena of the insect world, and we Americans are uniquely positioned to witness it. But this spring, the synchronized emergence of Brood 13 and Brood 19 will fill the air from Iowa to Virginia with over a trillion bugs, an event not seen since Thomas Jefferson's day.

1803 was the last time that this convergence occurred, and it involves the periodic cicadas of the 13-year brood and the 17-year brood,

It's not true that the cicadas are born this way. They actually live their whole lives underground and then burrow up to the surface as part of a mass breeding and egg-laying frenzy.

Entomologists estimate that the two broods together will number more than 1 trillion bugs, enough to go to the moon and back, head-to-tail, 33 times.

The two broods will overlap in Iowa and Illinois, and the 17-year cicadas, confusingly called Brood 19 (XIX), will extend into Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia, with a few also popping up in Louisiana.

The next time that these two will emerge together will be 2245.

"It's pretty much this big spectacular macabre Mardi Gras," Jonathan Larson, an entomologist at the University of Kentucky, told NPR. "It's a lot of singing, lots of paramours pairing up and then lots of dying."