Out on the Town

Listen to Today's Edition
Voiced by Amazon Polly

People in the American Midwest will enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime, albeit noisy, experience this summer.

Trillions of cicadas from two broods will emerge simultaneously and offer a concert of mating songs, the Washington Post reported.

They belong to Brood XIII and Brood XIX. The last time these two broods co-emerged, the United States had only been a nation for 27 years.

While some cicadas come out annually, others do so every 13 or 17 years.

Then begins a ritual of seducing and mating that lasts a few weeks until the beginning of July. During that period, their love songs can be as loud as 100 decibels, NBC News explained.

Because of their different surfacing intervals, cicada broods don’t sync up. However, every couple of years, two broods emerge at the same time, more often than not in different locations.

This year’s occurrence is a rarity not only because pairs of two given broods only co-emerge every 221 years, but also because they are neighbors, with the meeting point located in central Illinois, NBC News explained. Crucially, all seven cicada species will be represented, which won’t happen again for another 13 years.

This will help scientists conduct research on the insects and their crossbreeding behaviors.

Mycologist Matt Kasson told the Washington Post he was looking forward to analyzing a parasitic fungus that infects adult cicadas and transforms them into “flying saltshakers of death” that want to “party.”

Covering their abdomen, the fungus makes the insects “hypersexual,” mating regardless of sex and sprinkling spores around.

Researchers are keen on learning more about the fungus’ medical benefits, Kasson added.

Not already a subscriber?

If you would like to receive DailyChatter directly to your inbox each morning, subscribe below with a free two-week trial.

Subscribe today

Support journalism that’s independent, non-partisan, and fair.

If you are a student or faculty with a valid school email, you can sign up for a FREE student subscription or faculty subscription.

Questions? Write to us at hello@dailychatter.com.

Copy link