About 4 days ago I found this lying on the sidewalk next to a big tree. It’s the shell of a cicada. The adult crawled out of it and probably climbed up the tree. Oh. No.
I recall these from 17 years ago. The noise. It was louder than standing next to a lawnmower. And it was eerie! You couldn’t get away from it. Go inside, shut the windows. Nope.
For 17 years, cicadas do very little. They hang out in the ground, sucking sugar out of tree roots. Then, following this absurdly long hibernation, they emerge from the ground, sprout wings, make a ton of noise, have sex, and die within a few weeks. Their orphan progeny will then return to the ground and live the next 17 years in silence.
What they look like as adults (from Vox, as is the text above):
David Attenborough says the noise is earsplitting. Yep. Below he shows (audio too) what it’s like when billions emerge from the ground. It’s something else. No one knows exactly how they count the 17 years. “Astonishing” is the word Attenborough uses.