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The swarm: stand by for the deafening cicada orgy

• newscientist.com
 

Where will the cicadas emerge, and what will it be like?
This year marks the emergence of the brood II periodical cicadas, which last burst forth in 1996. From North Carolina to Connecticut, things could get very noisy, and crunchy underfoot.

Nymphs come to the surface en masse, moult to become adults, and have just a few weeks to reproduce before they die, littering the floor with their carcasses. To attract females, the males "sing" by vibrating abdominal membranes called tymbals.

The first stirrings will be down south, possibly in the next few days; New York City should join the fun by about the third week of the month. In some places, there could be several hundreds of the insects per square metre – making a racket louder than an approaching subway train. "It really is a natural phenomenon that's worth experiencing," says Richard Karban of the University of California, Davis.

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