Cicada-Geddon About To Hit

( – Breaking the silence that has reigned for the past couple of years, this year the forests of the eastern U.S. are set to witness an extraordinary natural event: two distinct groups of periodical cicadas will emerge at the same time.

Unlike the annual cicadas, these groups surface only once every 13 or 17 years for a brief, hectic period of mating and egg-laying before dying.

This leaves their offspring to burrow underground for their lengthy gestation until they reach their teenage years.

2024 marks a rare meeting of a 13-year brood, known as the Great Southern Brood or Brood XIX, spanning states from Missouri to the Carolinas, and a 17-year brood, Brood XIII or the Northern Illinois Brood, each set to emerge in adjoining regions.

This simultaneous emergence is uncommon and is creating significant buzz among scientists and the public alike.

John Lill from George Washington University highlights how rare this phenomenon is. He emphasizes the excitement over the event due to its unusual nature in both timing and geography.

In anticipation, states within the emergence zone are preparing for the cicadas, with significant visitor numbers expected to attend the spectacle.

For instance, Illinois finds itself uniquely positioned at the center of these two broods, offering a once-in-a-generation opportunity to observe and study these insects up close.

Experts are also excited about the prospects of potential brood interbreeding, given the distinct species within the 13- and 17-year cycles.

This year’s emergence will feature all seven species of Magicicada, which makes it a particularly noteworthy event for entomological study.

Periodical cicadas are known for their massive, synchronized emergences, designed to overwhelm predators through sheer numbers. This survival strategy allows a significant number of cicadas to mate and lay eggs despite being easy targets for a wide array of predators.

The cicadas’ emergence can affect the reproductive cycles of trees and provide a temporary bounty for birds and other animals, which showcases the complex connections within natural environments.

With the next simultaneous emergence not expected until 2037, this event offers a unique opportunity for observation and study.

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