What is so special about cicadas?

Prime Time Underground:  Most of their lives (13-17 years!) are spent underground as nymphs, feeding on tree roots. This extended underground residency is unlike most insects.

Synchronicity is Key:  Periodical cicadas emerge in massive synchronized broods, with billions of individuals appearing all at once. This strategy overwhelms predators and increases their chance of successful reproduction.

Musical Mates:  Only male cicadas sing, using special organs called tymbals to create their loud buzzing sound. These songs attract mates and can reach volumes as high as a chainsaw!

Nature's Feast:  The sudden emergence of billions of cicadas creates a bonanza for predators like birds, raccoons, and even some people who consider them a delicacy.

Masters of Molting:  Cicadas shed their exoskeletons as they transition from nymph to adult.  These empty shells clinging to trees are a telltale sign of a cicada emergence.

Ancient Lineage:  The fossil record suggests cicadas have been buzzing around for millions of years, making them a true testament to evolutionary resilience.

Underground Architects:  As nymphs, cicadas tunnel elaborate networks underground, aerating the soil and promoting healthy plant growth in a way that benefits the entire ecosystem.

Living Jewels:  Some cicada species have vibrant colors and iridescent wings, making them look like little flying jewels.

Fungal Fascination:  Some cicadas have a fascinating relationship with a specific fungus. While the fungus can kill the cicada, some species seem to have developed a tolerance, potentially even benefiting from the fungus in some way.

Ecological Importance:  Cicadas play a vital role in the ecosystem. They aerate soil, prune trees, and provide a vital food source for predators during their emergence.