In this Season of the Cicada, an insect-lover such as me has been having a field day photographing these fascinating creatures. According to Timothy J. Gibb of the Purdue University, Department of Entomology, cicadas are the loudest insect in the world. One cicada can be heard for a couple of miles in all directions. Multiply that by millions and you have the eery, shrill sound that announces their presence. To make their calls, cicadas have membranes on their sides that vibrate. These are called tympanic membranes, just like the membranes inside human ears that vibrate in order that we may hear.
Cicadas emerge from the ground as wingless nymphs. It is only after molting that they have wings. They do not feed. Their sole purpose is to breed. According to our expert from Purdue, the call of the cicada is to say, “We’re here, ladies! Let’s party!” That’s a direct quote.
The sheer number of cicadas is staggering. As there can be up to 1.5 million cicadas per acre. That puts their population into the trillions. As cicadas have absolutely no defense mechanisms (they neither bite nor sting) it is because of their gigantic numbers that they survive. These periodical insects emerge in huge numbers every 17 years like clockwork. Cicadas come out every year, but nothing like the numbers of 13- and 17-year cicadas. (Source: Indystar.com)
The last time the 17-year cicadas made their appearance, I was living in California where they don’t exist. Here is a list of the 15 states where they can be found: Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. (Source: Cincinnati.com/The Enquirer)