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This is the first time in over 200 years

This is the first time in over 200 years

It's official: 2024 belongs to the cicadas. This spring, two different broods of cicadas — one that lives on a 13-year cycle and the other…

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It's official: 2024 belongs to the cicadas. This spring, two different broods of cicadas — one that lives on a 13-year cycle and the other on a 17-year cycle — will emerge from underground at the same time in a rare synchronized event, the last time that occurred in 1803. The winged insects appear in the U.S. Midwest and Southeast beginning in late April for a primitive mating ritual that fascinates scholars.

A non-recurring event

This year's double coincidence is once in a lifetime. While each cub is occasionally hatched at the same time, each particular pair will only see their cycles align once every 221 years. Additionally, this year groups of cicadas, known as Brood XIII and Brood XIX, have nested closely together in central Illinois. The last time this event happened, the President of the United States was called Thomas JeffersonSo this is an exceptionally rare occurrence, confirmed by Jean Gritsky, an entomologist at Mount St. Joseph's University in Cincinnati and author of “A Tale of Two Brutes.” After 2024, the Brood XIII and Brood XIX cicadas will not synchronize their origins for another 221 years.

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Mating

These species of cicadas are seasonal insects that spend most of their lives underground feeding on tree roots. After 13 or 17 years, depending on their brood, the cicadas tunnel to the surface to reach maturity and embark on a noisy month-long search for a mate. Cicadas usually emerge in the spring when the ground reaches a temperature of about eighteen degrees.

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