The Cicada’s life cycle is what makes them so fascinating, but it’s the fact that they all emerge out of the ground at the same time in swarms, after years of lying dormant underground, that scares people and gives this flying insect a bad rap.
The Cicadas we can expect to see emerging over the next few weeks are specifically categorized as Brood 2, and they wait 17 years underground, living off tree roots, before they are ready to take to the trees, then the skies, in search of a mate.
What exactly does Brood 2 mean? Ed Johnson, the Director of Science, explained…
The Staten Island Museum has the largest Cicada collection in North America, 2nd in the world only to that of the British Museum.
And it’s all thanks to William T Davis, better known as the ‘Cicada Man.’
Davis was a naturalist who helped found the Staten Island Museum. He was elected curator at the ripe age of 19.
It was Davis who referred to these insects as ‘suh-KAH-duh,’ NOT ‘suh-KAY-duh.’
The public might fear Cicadas, but the truth is, they pose no physical threat to humans. They only emerge from the ground every 13 or 17 years to find a mate.
After nearly two decades in the earth, Cicadas only live for 2-3 weeks above ground, which is just long enough to locate a mate with their highly specialized and widely studied mating calls.
Ed Johnson has spent so long studying these special insects that he has begun to measure his own life in Cicada emergences.
For those living in Manhattan, you have nothing to worry about. Staten Island will be getting most of the cicada action in this spring.
Cicadas may be feared by most but they are hugely celebrated by some. They have amassed a huge cult following, spawning various fan sites and a vast array of Cicada merchandise.
The exhibit features Cicadas from around the world, from Australia, who has the loudest Cicadas, to Southeast Asia, who has the largest.
Cicadas are also a source of nutrients. People around the world regularly eat cicadas. They can be found deep fried, stir fried, skewered, or blanched. They have even been made into ice cream.
Brood 2 will be emerging on the east coast around May 21st, from North Carolina to upstate New York, But, by the end of June, the 2013 Cicada invasion will come to a close, and it will be another 17 years before we see these controversial creatures again.