Mystery in synchrony

Cicadas' odd life cycle poses evolutionary conundrums

By Susan Milius, 21:59 PM June 28, 2013

After 17 years underground, throngs of ruby-eyed cicadas clawed up through the soil this year to partake in a once-in-a-lifetime, synchronized mating frenzy. Except it wasn’t one big insect orgy: It was three.

The insects that unearthed themselves to breed in 2013 belong to three distinct species. You need only flip them over to see some differences, written in the varieties of their orange markings.

You can hear the differences too, says Chris Simon of the University of Connecticut in Storrs. ...

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