Amazing wildlife. 17 yr Cicada

Amazing wildlife. Neil Bromhall behind the lens filming 17 year Cicada.

17 year Cicada. Homoptera: Cicadidae

After 17 years underground the Cicada nymph will build a turret and wait for just the right conditions – usually a calm evening with a full moon then emerge en mass with millions of other 17 year Cicadas.


Their strategy is to overwhelm the predators by sheer numbers so that enough of their species will survive to mate and lay eggs for the next generation.

There are the 13year as well as the 17 year Cicadas. Cicadas use the13 & 17 primary number years so that no animal will time their breeding with their emergence.

An almost perfect strategy except for the fungus that lives on the exoskeleton of the nymph which times its fruiting with the nymphs emergence.

I filmed the 17 year Cicadas emerging in Chicago.

After emerging from the ground the nymphs will climb a post or tree where it emerges as an adult.
The males will call to attract a female.
They mate after which he dies and the female goes off to find a suitable tree and lay her eggs in the branch by using her ovipositor.
After laying her eggs she dies.
In a couple of weeks the tiny nymphs emerge from the bark and then fall to the ground.
The mother has had to choose a healthy tree that she knows will still be alive and healthy in 17yrs time, long enough to sustain the next generation.
The tiny nymph the size of a pin head burrows underground where it will latch on to the root and suck away for the next 17 years before it too will dig it’s way to the surface to retreat the cycle again for the next generation


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Posted 18th June 2007

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