Cicadas are a pretty common sight in Chicago. The ones we see most often are called annual cicadas which emerge every year. There are some, called periodical cicadas, that only emerge every 13 or 17 years! Bug expert Allen has been out in the field studying these cool critters, and he’s taking us with him in this two-part Curious By Nature special! First, let’s learn about their populations, their long life spans, and the sounds they make.
Let’s head back out in the field with Allen! In part two, he’s taking a closer look at what they do for the very short period of their lives that they’re above ground.
Have you ever wondered how cicadas make sound? It’s all thanks to a special organ called the tymbal. The tymbal contains a series of ribs that buckle one after the other when the cicada flexes its muscles. Every time a rib buckles, it produces a click. Many clicks produce a buzzing sound. Click here to check out our full blog post on cicada sound.
Allen took lots of incredible footage to help us showcase these cicadas today. Many of us probably have access to cameras and smartphones that allow us to film and take photos quickly and easily. Can you imagine what it might have been like taking photos of wildlife 100 years ago? Click here to learn about Tappan Gregory, a nature photographer who pioneered “animal self portraits.”