tomwilson

27 Jan 2016 158 views
 
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photoblog image 17-year locust

17-year locust

 

These are the nymph cases of the so-called 17-year locust, properly known as one of the "periodical cicadas" of the genus Magicicada.  The "17-year" refers to the fact that this particular cicada lives most of its life underground, feeding mainly on tree roots, and comes to the surface only after 17 years.  It was just a matter of luck that I happened to be living in Maryland when they were due to pop up!

 

17-year locust

 

These are the nymph cases of the so-called 17-year locust, properly known as one of the "periodical cicadas" of the genus Magicicada.  The "17-year" refers to the fact that this particular cicada lives most of its life underground, feeding mainly on tree roots, and comes to the surface only after 17 years.  It was just a matter of luck that I happened to be living in Maryland when they were due to pop up!

 

comments (17)

Very cool, Tom! You lucky guy!
Tom Wilson: They made quite a noise, too, when they were above ground for a short time smile
Timing is everything Tom... did they do a lot of damage to the forests that year...

we have pine beetles that just arrived in our part of the country two years ago... they eat the new growth of needles on the spruce and pines....petersmile
Tom Wilson: I don't think they do damage in the short adult stage above ground - it's only a couple of months - but they do affect tree growth immediately before surfacing as they stock up on food from tree roots. There's a good Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Periodical_cicadas
  • Ray
  • United States
  • 27 Jan 2016, 05:33
Ain't Nature a wonderful thing, Tom!
Tom Wilson: Continually amazing, Ray.
  • Chris
  • England
  • 27 Jan 2016, 06:45
Lucky you Tom!
Tom Wilson: It was an interesting event!
  • Louis
  • South Africa
  • 27 Jan 2016, 06:58
Never heard of them before, but now I have! 17 years is a lot for an insect.
Tom Wilson: There's another species - the "13 year locust". Curious, eh?
Mother Nature is amazing Tom!
Tom Wilson: Continually, Richard!
UGH. I would have wanted to miss the opportunity, I think, Tom. But then, I'm sure it was fascinating, as your image shows. (sigh)
Tom Wilson: Oh, they don't affect humans at all, Ginnie.
  • Lisl
  • England
  • 27 Jan 2016, 08:19
I had never heard of these in America, Tom
Tom Wilson: I guess that cicadas are pretty well unknown in the UK - but if you've heard them "singing" anywhere you'll remember it smile There's a good Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Periodical_cicadas
I was in New York State at the in-laws in the mid-seventies when the cycle was in it's 17th year. My mother in law told me about the phenomenon and I was quite amazed at this.
Tom Wilson: It's an astonishing phenomenon PS: that would be Brood XIV in 1974 smile See: http://www.cicadamania.com/where.html
  • Lisl
  • England
  • 27 Jan 2016, 10:04
Yes - I have heard them in the Camargue, Tom
Tom Wilson: Not a spot I've ever been to, although I've been close - you never know, I may still get round to it one of these days smile PS - a very interesting table here: http://www.cicadamania.com/where.html
Well I'll be Tom. Well I won't, but you know what I mean.
Tom Wilson: Quite astonishing, isn't it?!
hmm, periodical cicadas. interesting text and a nice shot to go along with it, Tom
Tom Wilson: Thanks, Ayush.
  • Anne
  • United Kingdom
  • 27 Jan 2016, 14:37
An interesting find Tom - did you see any of them hatch?
Tom Wilson: I'm afraid not, Anne - I only heard them singing. And one could see the holes they had made on emerging from the ground smile
A fine shot. Doesn't nature have strange ways of working things out.
Tom Wilson: Totally weird, Brian smile
17 years before breaking through the surface, that is remarkable
Tom Wilson: There's another variety that takes 13 years!
I won't be rushed the cicada said
as it surfaced and smelt the air.
A passing bird then snapped it up
Life just ain't ruddy fair
Tom Wilson: Ain't that the truth - still, duty's done, the eggs are laid smile
  • Alan
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 27 Jan 2016, 21:53
Amazing. Never heard of anything like that before. I would see it as good luck for the photo opportunity but bad luck for the possibility of being eaten by them wink
Tom Wilson: They seem to be an Eastern USA phenomenon, Alan, from Louisiana north and different "broods" pop up in different 17-year cycles, so if you are in New York state, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia or West Virginia this year, you might come across Brood V (5) smile Brood 23 of the 13 year locust popped up in a number of states this year as did Brood IV of the 17-year smile

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