From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Cicadas
Mains level : NA
A brood of periodical cicadas, noisy insects that breed underground for as long as 13-17 years are expected to emerge into some states of the US this year.
A stand-alone species being mentioned in the news for the first time may find their way into the prelims. Make special note here.
What are Cicadas?
- Cicadas are insects that spend most of their lives underground and emerge from the soil mainly to mate.
- Once out of the ground, their life span is fairly short, somewhere between two-four weeks.
- At present, there are about 15 active broods of these cicadas as some have gone extinct.
- The insects are found in America’s as well as New Zealand and Australia.
- The name 13 and 17 year refers to the number of years that cicada nymphs take to reach adulthood.
- It is not clear why their development period is so long, researchers suspect that it may be linked to avoiding predators above the soil.
How are the fed?
- During this time underground the nymphs feed on sap from plant roots.
- After this developmental period, the cicada nymphs construct a “cicada hut” and burrow their way out from the soil and climb onto any nearby tree or vegetation.