May 6 2013, 2:50am CDT | by Sumayah Aamir
They have waited like an army of mutant aliens in the ground for more than a dozen years. Since 1996, these insects called cicadas have been in larval state and kept themselves buried deep underground. But now there time has come. Across the East Coast, from Connecticut to New York, these fascinating creatures of entomological origin have begun swarming, mating and producing their peculiar song-like calls.
These interesting insects have started their life cycle anew as reported by Reuters. Their numbers are truly humongous. In the billions, they are familiar through their dark frames, crimson eyes and veined wings. The music generated by the cicadas is a very strange phenomenon that has amused scientists and laymen through the ages.
They have just begun their emergence from the subterranean depths and are expected to really reach their prime later this May or in June. With a 17 year period during which the young attain an adult status, they have not been seen yet, since they have kept themselves hidden from view. But the moment they mature they emerge in scads and start their mating rituals. This involves a certain sound that appears to be a mixture of dirge and opera. The sound is sad, frightening and emotional. In a way it gives you the creeps.
They are so large in number that no matter how many species may prey upon them they will survive and never go extinct. Despite the fact that they flit about noisily, cicadas are harmless and don’t even cause much damage to plant life. The only devastation they inflict is upon juvenile, miniature trees and small shrubs upon which they lay their eggs. Yet people take offense at the smallest things. Their very presence is offensive to so many. And their noise especially when they are present in bulk is very aggravating.
Basically, they are a mild irritant. When the nymphs emerge from the eggs they fall to the ground and re-start the circle of life by going for another 17 years of evolutionary hibernation. Later on, after the decade and a half is over the same nymphs, by now full-fledged cicadas, will make pipelines and re-emerge onto the surface for their festival of fun, feasting and frolicking that awaits them on earth.
Image Credit: Getty Images
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