You may have seen or heard about the record swarm of billions of cicadas (“Brood II” to scientists) expected on the East Coast of the U.S. this spring and summer. The insect in question is the Periodical Cicada (Magicicada septendecim), and while the site of these red-eyed creepy crawlies (especially in such large quantities) may send shivers down some spines, their life cycle is fascinating. Our video of the week, a short time-lapse film by Samuel Orr, documents the entire–surprisingly beautiful–process from the time the cicadas emerge as wingless nymphs from their 17-year underground nap to the time they take flight and begin their noisy mating song (roughly 90 decibels, or about the volume of a gas-powered lawn mower).
Check out the National Geographic article Cicadas Coming to U.S. East Coast This Spring
Learn the basics of the cicada life cycle–and find a recipe for cooking up the little buggers in the Science News for Kids article Here Comes Swarmageddon!
Written by Christine Hoekenga
Christine is a freelance writer, editor, and content strategist, specializing in science and nature. She holds an Bachelor's degree in Environmental Science and Media Studies and a Master's of Science Writing. She has been working in science communication and education for nearly a decade as a journalist, an organizer for conservation groups, and a museum educator. Before joining the Visionlearning team, she served as the New Media and Online Community Manager for the Webby award-winning Smithsonian Ocean Portal. Christine is assisting Visionlearning with developing new modules and glossary terms, managing the blog, and outreach through social media.