By now you’ve probably all heard the ‘buzz’ about it being the year of the Brood X 17-year periodical cicada, Magicada. At least for folks in many parts of the US. I live in southern Michigan and according to the historical maps that means I should just barely be in the range to see them. Hooray! So all year, I have been anxiously awaiting and anticipating the emergence of Brood X. And waiting. And enviously looking at photos and videos posted by my fellow entomologists in more eastern parts of the US. And disappointedly waiting some more… In some states there are so many that they are actually causing plane delays and car crashes… And waiting… Until finally coming to the very disappointing conclusion, that my house must just not be quite within their range.
Now most of you are probably thinking that I must be crazy. I should be relieved that I don’t have to deal with hoards of noisy insects bumping into me every time I walk outside, right? Well, maybe I am slightly crazy, but I’m definitely not alone in the entomology world with wanting to see these critters. After all, they only come out every 17 years! What other critter do you know of that you can only see every 17 years? And they’re kinda pretty with those ruby red eyes and bright orange wing veins contrasting the shiny black body… Last time these amazing creatures emerged, I was living in Maryland, one of the epicenters for Brood X. I was SO cool! One day there’s nothing to really be noticed, and then the next day they’re everywhere singing to each other and generally having a raucous party! It was awesome. So I guess I should just be happy I got to see the emergence last time, right?
Well, getting back the title of this post, after long waits and constantly searching my yard, I finally found one! Maybe not the huge hoards I was hoping for, but I found one! It was on the road a little beyond my driveway, just chilling. I got ridiculously excited to see it and immediately grabbed my phone to take a photo. Which of course got my dog’s attention, who immediately tried to eat it. I suppose its my own fault. I usually let my dog eat the annual green cicadas she finds since they’re harmless and she makes funny faces when eating them. Something about how they buzz around apparently makes it lots of fun for dogs to play with them before eating (lots of in the mouth, out of the mouth, back in). But not this one! I’ve been searching for it for too long! So I promptly made my dog spit it out. It seemed to be unfazed by the brief encounter with the inside of my dog’s mouth, so hopefully it is ok. We continued on our walk, and when we came back to the spot the cicada originally was, it was gone. I’m going to assume that it is now in a tree singing for a mate, or if it was a female, hopefully laying eggs for the next generation. Definitely no way a bird or squirrel might have found it after we did. I hope.
If you are one of the lucky ones who lives in a Brood X emergence zone, you might consider contributing data to the scientists that study these unusual critters. There is a free app, “Cicada Safari”, that you can use to collect data on any periodical cicadas you see this year. It will help with monitoring changes in distribution and abundance levels of the periodical cicada.
If you want to read more about periodical cicadas, check out these useful sites:
I found another one!
Post update 6/20/2021
Again, just ridiculously excited to find one single specimen of Magicada in my yard… For a grand total of two whole Brood X cicadas lol. This one was by my garden. I supposed it could be the same one I saw before, but the garden is a ways away from the road where I saw the first one… I’m going to assume this is a second one. Mostly, just because I want there to be two…
I was about to turn the cicada over and take an image of its ventral side (or belly in normal people talk), when it decided this photo shoot is over. Caput. Donzo. It just flew off before I even realized it was unhappy being the subject of my photographic attention. Since there are three different species of 17-year periodical cicada, you actually need to look at their undersides to confirm the species. * sigh * Oh well. At least I got so see another one in my yard :)
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