#GS3 #Environment #Biodiversity 

A brood of periodical cicadas, noisy insects that breed underground for as long as 13-17 years are expected to emerge into some states on the east coast of the US this year. 

  • Cicadas are insects that spend most of their lives underground and emerge from the soil mainly to mate. Once out of the ground, their life span is fairly short, somewhere between two-four weeks. The insects are found in the America’s as well as New Zealand and Australia. 
  • There will be major outbreaks of periodical cicadas in 2020 and 2021. There are three species of 17-year cicadas and three species of 13-year cicadas. 
  • The name 13 and 17 year refers to the number of years that cicada nymphs take to reach adulthood. It is not clear why their development period is so long. 
  • After emerging from the ground in billions, the cicadas shed their exoskeletons or outer skins to take their winged form. The lifespan of adult cicadas is short, about two to four weeks during which time they feed relatively little and mate. 
  • This year, the grouping dubbed Brood IX will emerge after spending 17 years underground, into states including Southwest Virginia, parts of North Carolina and West Virginia. The emergence of over 1.5 million cicadas per acre is expected.  
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