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They're Baaaack! Periodical Cicadas Emerge After 17 Years Underground

Courtesy of Pixabay

The sound of cicadas is being heard across the Northeast right now, but the only place Long Islanders can see them this summer is in Wildwood State Park.

Professor Douglas Futuyma, with Stony Brook University's Ecology and Evolution Department, said that periodical cicadas are not like ordinary insects.

“Most insects live for at most a year. Many insects, they will have their entire life from when they’re an egg until they die as adults, maybe just a few weeks. These things are living for 17 years underground.”

This year’s brood V is swarming the Northeast region.

A brood is a group of cicadas that matured at the same time, regardless of location.

What happens during their 17 years underground? Not much...except to grow old and get fat.

“They spend the next 17 years essentially in the vicinity of a tree root, feeding on the sap in the root, and finally after 17 years, they will have grown to be full sized and they will come out of the ground at night.”

North America has a total of 15 broods of periodical cicadas, in addition to annual cicadas, which emerge every year.

The next brood of periodicals that will emerge in New York will be in 2018.

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