The Cicada-geddon invasion will be the largest insect appearance in centuries – Science News (Trending Perfect)

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Chicago advised to prepare for billions of cicadas this spring


Chicago advised to prepare for billions of cicadas this spring

02:47

Trillions of strange, red-eyed wonders of evolution Periodic cicada Which have pumps in their heads and jet-like muscles in their butts, are about to do just that Shown in numbers We have not seen it for decades, perhaps centuries.

Crawling from underground every 13 or 17 years, with a collective song as loud as jet engines, periodical cicadas are nature's kings of the calendar.

These black insects with bulging eyes differ from their green cousins ​​that emerge annually. They remain buried year after year, until they rise to the surface and take over the landscape, covering homes with fallen exterior structures and making the ground crunchy.

This spring, an unusual double dose of cicadas is about to invade parts of the United States at the University of Connecticut. cicada Expert John Cooley called them “good cicadas.” The last time these two broods met was in 1803, by Thomas Jefferson, who wrote about the cicadas in His garden book But he made the mistake of calling them locusts, and he was president.

“Periodic cicadas are not subtle,” Cooley said.

cicada
The Dog Day cicada (Tibicen cancularis) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on August 21, 2022.

Creative Touch Imaging Ltd./NurPhoto via Getty Images


If you are intrigued by what's coming Solar eclipse“The cicadas are weirder and bigger,” said Saad Bhamla, a biophysicist at Georgia Tech.

“We have trillions of these amazing organisms coming out of the ground, climbing up trees, it's just a unique experience, a sight to behold,” Bhamla said. “It's like a whole alien life living under our feet, and then some years it comes out to say hello.”

Sometimes mistaken for voracious, irrelevant locusts, periodic cicadas are more of a nuisance than causing textbook economic damage. It can harm small trees and some fruit crops, but is not widespread and preventable.

Two groups of brood add up to a “mass infestation”: one million per acre

The largest geographical brood in the country – Called Brood XIX And he comes out every 13 years — about to march across the Southeast, having already made countless wells in the red Georgia clay. It's a sure sign of an upcoming cicada colony. Entomologists said they appear when the Earth's temperature rises to 64 degrees (17.8 degrees Celsius), which happens earlier than usual due to climate change. The insects are initially brown but become dark as they mature.

Soon after the insects appear in large numbers in Georgia and the rest of the Southeast, so will their cicada cousins, who emerge every 17 years. Flood the Illinois. they Brood XIII.

“You have one very widely distributed brood in Brood XIX, but you have a very dense and historically abundant brood in the Midwest, which is Brood XIII,” said Mike Robb, an entomologist at the University of Maryland.

“And when you put those two together, you have more than anywhere else at any other time,” said Paula Shrewsbury, an entomologist at the University of Maryland.

These hidden cicadas are only found in the eastern United States and a few other small places. There are 15 different broods that emerge every few years, in 17- and 13-year cycles. Entomologists said these two broods may actually be intermingling — but perhaps not mating — in a small area near central Illinois.

There will be, experts told CBS Chicago Don't avoid insects in Illinois When they appear there, it will likely be in mid-May.

“This will be a mass invasion, but a peaceful one,” said Allen Lawrence, associate curator of entomology at the institute. Peggy Notepert Nature Museum.

The numbers to emerge this year — averaging about 1 million per acre on hundreds of millions of acres across 16 states — are staggering. Easily hundreds of trillions, maybe quadrillions, Cooley said.

“That's cicada-palooza,” Cooley said.

Cooley and several other entomologists said the origin of some cicadas' astronomical numbers can likely be traced back to evolution. Rob, who eats them himself, said the fat, slow and tasty periodical cicadas make ideal meals for birds. (His school issued a Cicada's cookbook is called “Cicada-Licious.” “But there are so many of them that they cannot be eaten to extinction,” he said.

“Birds everywhere will be feeding. Their bellies will be full, and the cicadas will emerge victorious once again,” Rob said.

Pets may also try to make a cicada snack. The vets told CBS Chicago Generally it does not pose a health risk.

“It's not toxic to pets. It won't sting or bite your pet,” said Dr. Cynthia Gonzalez of Family Pet Animal Hospital in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. “The only problem your pet might have is if they eat a large amount of it, or if they are a smaller dog if they eat a small piece of the exoskeleton – sometimes that can irritate their digestive system.”


Cicadas are coming to Chicago – what does it mean for your pets?

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“Sometimes, in rare cases, an animal may have an allergic reaction to some of the components in that exoskeleton if that pet is also allergic to shellfish,” said Dr. Kelly Kearns DVM, MS, DACVIM – an internist. Board certified for small animals. He is a medical professional, vice president of clinical excellence and education at Thrive Pet Healthcare, and board trustee of the Chicago Veterinary Medical Society.

Prime numbers and an evolutionary trick

Another way cicadas use numbers, or mathematics, is in their cycles. They stay underground for 13 or 17 years, both prime numbers. These large, odd numbers are likely an evolutionary trick to prevent predators from relying on predictable appearances.

Shrewsbury said cicadas can cause problems for young trees and nurseries when their mating and nesting burdens and breaks branches.

Cicadas periodically search for plants around mature trees, where they can mate, lay eggs and then descend underground to feed on the roots, said Gene Kritsky, a biologist at Mount St. Joseph University and a cicada expert who wrote. A book about the double appearance this year. This makes American suburbs “a paradise for periodical cicadas,” he said.

It can be hard on your eardrums when all those cicadas gather together in those trees and start singing. It's like a solitary pub where males sing to attract mates, and each species has its own mating call.

“The whole tree is screaming,” said Kritsky, who created a tree. Cicada Safari app To track the whereabouts of cicadas.

Cooley takes hearing protection because it can get very intense.

“It's in the 110 decibel range,” Cooley said. “It would be like sticking your head next to an airplane. It's painful.”

Flirting is something to behold, as Kritsky imitated the male singing “ffaairro, ffaairro”.

“She's flapping her wings,” Kritsky narrated in a play. “He's getting closer. He's singing. Move his wings. When he gets really close, there's no gap, he'll go ffaairro, ffaairro, ffaairro, ffaairro.”

Mating then takes place, where the female lays eggs in a groove in a tree branch. the The cicada nymph will fall to the groundThen dig underground to reach the tree's roots.

Cicadas are peculiar in that they feed on tree tissue, which carries water and some nutrients. The pressure inside the xylem is less than the pressure outside, but the pump in the cicada's head allows the insect to obtain a liquid that would otherwise not be able to get out of the tree, said Carrie Deans, an entomologist at the University of Alabama Huntsville.

Cicadas get so much fluid that they have a lot of liquid waste to dispose of. It does this thanks to a special muscle that produces a stream of urine that flows faster than in any other animal, said Bhamla of the Georgia Institute of Technology.

In Macon, Georgia, TJ Rawls was planting roses and pansies this week when he came across a cicada while digging. A neighbor had already posted a photo of the precocious creature.

Rawls named his insect “Bobby” and said he looked forward to more to come.

“I think it will be exciting,” Raul said. “It's going to be confusing with all their voices.”

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