Earlier this month it was reported the 17 year Cicadas was about to emerge. Boy, was I excited! Being a close up photographer and having these insects available for my lens is special to say the least. Think about it, 17 years. These insects burrow into the ground near trees and live for 17 years, then emerge enmass. How can this be? Can you imagine If all humans were locked up and told to only open the door 17 years from this date, how would we know when 17 years elapsed? This is one of the things that make these insects so special and amazing.
Nearly all cicadas spend their life mostly underground as juveniles, before emerging for the adult stage for several weeks to a few months. The seven periodical cicada species are so named because, in any one location, all of the members of the population are developmentally synchronized—they emerge as adults all at once in the same year. This periodicity is especially remarkable because their life cycles are so long—13 or 17 years. Cicadas of all other species (perhaps 3000 worldwide) are not synchronized, so some adults mature each summer and emerge while the rest of the population continues to develop underground. Many people refer to these non-periodical species as annual cicadas since some are seen every summer. The life cycles of most annual species range from two to ten years, although some could be longer.