Feature

Year in Review: Odd cicada history emerges

Brood II returns better understood

By
9:00am, December 27, 2013

BIG BROOD  Cicadas such as this one in Virginia, from the Brood II group of the Magicicada genus, began to emerge in May after living underground for 17 years.

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For a few weeks in 2013, a chorus of headlines about the raucous reproduction of periodical cicadas just about drowned out the real cicada news.

This was the year for a cohort of big, reckless, ruby-eyed bugs to break out of the soil for their first and only chance to mate after 17 years of sucking plant roots in the dark. Synchronized generations of three Magicicada species designated as Brood II reliably emerge every 17 years in a swath of the U.S. East Coast from the southern Appalachians to New York (SN: 7/13/13, p. 26).

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