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The Aquilian

The Aquilian

    Cicadas begin to emerge in the DMV

    A cicada will shed its shell once it emerges from the ground. (Provided by Mr. John Auesemas neighbor)
    A cicada will shed its shell once it emerges from the ground. (Provided by Mr. John Auesema’s neighbor)

    Maryland residents are about to experience a unique event that only occurs every 17 years. During this May, the generation of cicadas known as “Brood X” will emerge from underground.

    As the Western Hemisphere makes its way into the spring months, the east coast of the United States is expected to experience billions of cicadas soon. The United States Forest Service has charted out all of the regions that Brood X populates, and fortunately for the majority of Gonzaga students and faculty, Virginia won’t be affected nearly as much as Maryland.

    Residents in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee and Georgia, though, can all expect a significant amount of red-eyed cicadas bursting out of the ground relatively soon. While some consider their appearance to be a mystery or an amazing experience, typically most find their loud noise and massive numbers to be annoying and pointless.

    A little fun fact is that male cicadas tend to create a sound between 90-100 decibels, meaning that their noise can be comparable to a lawnmower. The loudest species of cicadas have recorded up to 120 decibels, nearing the threshold of pain.

    Two cicadas on some leaves, provided by Mr. Auesma’s neighbor.

    No one at all knows how a cicadas biological clock works, but they, in fact, are consistent in coming out every 13 or 17 years, depending on which brood they are. While yes, they can be annoying, they do have many positives for both humans and nature, so remember that next time you see one and think about killing it.

    For example, many people around the world eat cicadas and consider them a delicacy. They provide others with jobs, like scientists, and for some they are valuable memories. If you think about it, the next time these Brood X cicadas will emerge from underground will be in 2038; the seniors will be turning 35 years old then.

    Their impact on nature is impressive nonetheless, too. Cicadas help trees through pruning weak branches off, and they also provide lots of nutrients for the soil when they die. For animals, cicadas are like a Thanksgiving, Easter and Christmas dinner combined. Millions of cicadas are eaten once they die, which has a direct correlation on any food chain.

    So remember, when you see these creatures outside in the next few months, keep it in the back of your mind that cicadas are awesome, mysterious insects. Take some time to appreciate the once-in-a-17-year experience and take note of how much you will have changed when Brood X comes from the earth’s depths in 2038.

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