by Carrie Brown, Engineering Technician
If you are an Ohio resident, you are likely aware of this year’s mass emergence of periodical cicadas, Brood X edition. Whether you’ve heard about the 17-year surfacing on television or social media or have had the honor of experiencing the immersive nature of their collective drone firsthand, there’s no denying the astonishing character of this generational phenomenon.
Also known as the Great Eastern Brood, Brood X (pronounced Brood Ten) is one of 15 broods of periodical cicadas that emerge throughout the eastern United States. Brood X is one of the largest groups, gracing 15 states, including central and western Ohio, with their collective presence.
Periodical cicadas spend most of their lifecycle under the ground, feeding on juices from tree roots in an immature state known as a nymph. Depending on the brood, these juveniles clamber upwards every 13 or 17 years, where they emerge synchronously en masse over a two week period, shed their outer shells, and commence what can only be described as a breeding frenzy.
With a population numbering in the billions, periodical cicadas only live a few weeks as an adult, and during this time they all share the same reproductive mission. Once this quest is fulfilled and the females have deposited their eggs in a nearby tree branch, their life cycle is complete.
Whether you love them or loathe them, one must admire the many unique qualities of these remarkable critters. Let’s take a look at 10 traits that will make sure-fire table talk. (Family dinners are about to get a whole lot more interesting.)