If you live in the United States, you’ve probably heard of the Brood X cicadas. This event occurs once every 17 years, filling parks and backyards with thousands of large, noisy insects.
What are cicadas? Should you be afraid of them? Can you see cicadas in other parts of the world? We’re here to map every place the cicadas call home and help you better understand this adorable insect.
What are cicadas?
Cicadas are insects. There are about 3000 species all over the world.
What do cicadas look like? Adults have a thick body with large bulging eyes. Cicadas are usually one to two inches long. They also have large, thin wings that are clean except for the web of veins running through them. The wingspan can be up to eight inches. Young cicadas have a brown outer shell that lacks wings and has pointed tips towards the feet.
Where do cicadas live in the world?
Cicadas have lived in many parts of the world since prehistoric times, as evidenced by fossilized cicadas. They usually live in temperate and tropical climates; they cannot survive in the coldest regions. Cicadas are found on all continents except Antarctica.
Can you find these cicada houses on the map? Many species can be found in each place.
The annual cicada is the most common cultivar in the world. Representatives of its species can be seen every year. Annual cicadas have an average lifespan of one to five years or more, depending on the species. Some have been underground for over ten years! But the appearance of adults is not synchronized, as with periodic cicadas, so some adults can be seen every year.
In addition to the annual cicada, periodic cicadas are also found in North America. These cicadas live exceptionally long for insects, but they spend most of their lives underground in the nymph stage.
Periodic cicadas breed in “broods,” with large groups of perhaps billions of insects emerging as adults, mating and laying eggs in the same year. These broods spend 13 or 17 years underground. Scientists give broods different names to distinguish them from each other. For example, Brood X will appear in the southeastern United States in 2021.
Where will periodic cicadas appear in the future? Consider this table of broods and their location in the United States. Take a map and see if cicadas appear in the state near you.
Where are the cicadas? – 17 year old cicadas
- Brood I – Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia – 2029
- Brood II – Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Virginia – 2030
- Brood III – Iowa, Illinois & Missouri – 2031
- Brood IV – Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas – 2032
- Brood V – New York, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia – 2033
- Brood VI – Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Wisconsin, and Ohio – 2034
- Brood VII – New York – 2035
- Brood VIII – Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Oklahoma – 2036
- Brood IX – North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia – 2037
- Brood X – Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington – 2021, 2038
- Brood XIII – Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin – 2023
- Brood XIV – Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia – 2025
Where are the cicadas? – 13 year old cicadas
- Brood XIX – Alabama, Arkanasas, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Virginia – 2024
- Brood XXII – Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Ohio – 2026
- Brood XXIII – Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, and Tennessee – 2028
Where are the cicadas? – Why are there cicadas in some places and not in others?
You may have noticed that the periodic cicadas listed above are limited to a few states – mostly east of the Mississippi River, with a few in the Great Plains states. Why aren’t there periodic cicadas in every state or other country in the world?
Cicadas are extremely endemic, which means that individual species only live in one geographic region. They don’t travel or spread. This is because they spend so little time as adults.
Although periodic cicadas are not found in the western United States or elsewhere, many species of annual cicadas are found. Some scientists believe that periodic cicadas have developed their own unique life cycle to survive periods of cold or certain predators such as praying mantises. These problems are specific to eastern North America; elsewhere, annual cicadas use different coping strategies.
Why are there no cicadas in Antarctica or in the coldest corners of North America and Eurasia? The area should also have suitable habitat for cicadas. Cicadas lay their eggs under the bark of trees. When they hatch, the nymphs fall to the ground and burrow into it, and the young insects mature there. Adults climb trees, crawling out of the ground. The weather should be suitable for both the cicadas and the plants they need to survive.
Where are the cicadas? – Why do cicadas appear in flocks?
So, we understand that periodic cicadas spend 13 or 17 years underground. But why is their appearance synchronized? Why do they all appear at once, and not just a few seventeen-year-old cicadas that emerge every year like annual cicadas and lay eggs that will grow and appear in another 17 years?
Scientists believe that the mass appearance could help the cicadas survive. Predators, including cats, dogs, birds, foxes, raccoons, and other insects, love to feast on cicadas. When many appear at once, there are more predators than they can eat, so some of them will survive to reproduce.
Predatory insects have a particularly short life cycle, usually around two years. Because the life cycles of cicadas are much longer, predators cannot reproduce, depending on cicadas for food.
Cycles of colder than normal weather could also affect the long life cycle of tidal cicadas.
Cicadas aren’t the only creatures using a synchronized reproductive strategy. Some trees only produce seeds every few years, and they synchronize with flowering for one year. Then there are so many offspring that herbivores cannot eat all the seeds or seedlings, just as predators cannot eat all the cicadas.
Where are the cicadas? – What does the appearance of cicadas look like?
How does it feel when a brood of cicadas comes out to play? We asked travel and adventure blogger Karu Siera to share some memories of the 1998 appearance of 13-year-old cicadas in Nashville, Tennessee, USA.
“It was really exciting for a child who loved animals,” Siera said. “We took a school trip to Centennial Park in Nashville just to see them. These were some of the biggest mistakes I have ever seen. They were also everywhere – on the ground, in the trees. Their crunchy brown shells were everywhere too. If you look closely, you can find that some of them are still climbing out of the ground through small tunnels. Many of us played with them, while other children were afraid. I remember we saw several pale cicadas, much lighter than the others, and we wanted to protect them because they were special. Now I know that these were the youngest insects that hatched recently, their exoskeletons are still hardening in the sun. “
“The noise was strong — a loud squeal,” she continued. “To this day, when I hear the cry of a lonely one-year-old cicada, it takes me back to that hot summer when I was eight years old.”
Where are the cicadas? – Should you be afraid of cicadas?
No, don’t be afraid of cicadas. They do not bite or sting. They are not poisonous or poisonous. They cannot harm you and they are not interested in frightening you. They just want to feed on plant juices and find a mate.
Did you know? Some people even eat cicadas! Some Native Americans had a tradition of baking cicadas in a hot oven. They are said to resemble grasshoppers and locusts in the taste of shrimp. Some conservationists believe that using insect proteins can help us offset global warming and protect our beautiful planet.
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