A great discussion of cicada broods now attracting attention along the Eastern seaboard of the United States. Of note is how cicada broods are not synonymous with cicada species. In fact each brood consists of a number of reproductively isolated species.
by Greg Mayer
This was a big year for periodical cicadas, with the emergence of Brood II along the east coast attracting attention in the media, including here at WEIT, and other websites (which I also commented at). Despite this, I overlooked an important paper on them published by Teiji Sota and colleagues back in April. At the Evolution meetings one of the coauthors, my old colleague and teacher Chris Simon, brought it to my attention.
Periodical cicadas (Magicicada) are fascinating animals. They live underground for 17 years, then emerge in huge numbers, mate, lay eggs, and die, all in a few weeks. The huge numbers overwhelm their predators’ ability to eat them. Each year class is called a “brood”, so Brood II previously emerged in 1996, 1979, and so on; Brood III will emerge next year (in Iowa, Missouri, and Illinois). One species of cicada…
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