I was a little late to work this morning. I hitched a ride to school with Leslie, and when we got out of the car, we noticed a cicada on the tree by the street, shedding his shell. We’re in the first week of a six-week cicada infestation, a very special once-every-17-years infestation, and we stopped to take a look. Leslie’s been anxiously waiting for her first sighting of these beautiful and monstrous bugs, and I happened to have a camera with me, so we got a little sidetracked for a while. At first we just saw one or two, but then our eyes adjusted to the details on the trees and we could see they were everywhere – on the ground, on the trunk, in the branches, in the grass… And there will only be more as the weeks go by, until eventually the ground in the suburbs is covered with cicada corpses. A local newspaper reported that in Wilmette, just south of where New Trier is located, there will be approximately one million cicadas per square mile. One suburb, a million bugs per square mile. Now imagine that number multiplied across Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, etc.
You can read information on Brood XII here:
http://magazine.audubon.org/truenature/truenature0005.html. This particular article involves the ones in Appalachia from a couple of years ago, but ours are the same.
I was in a hurry, so the photos aren’t my best work, but you can get an idea of what they look like, anyway.
This guy is sitting on top of the shell he just emerged from: