That’s some serious Cicada Action documented in this week’s Nature:

A cicada known as the kumazemi is descending on Japan en masse, deafening the citizens and wreaking havoc on the country’s fibre-optic system. The 6- to 7-centimetre-long black cicada (Cryptotympana facialis) inhabits western Japan and subtropical regions of eastern Asia. This August is expected to be the largest and noisiest cicada summer in the insect’s four-year cycle…..

Measured at 90.4 decibels at another Osaka park last year, this year the same spot is expected to hit 94 decibels — decibels follow a logarithmic scale, so that’s more than double the volume. Prolonged exposure to this level of noise can cause deafness.

The kumazemi are also cutting households off from their Internet. Apparently mistaking fibre-optic cables for withered branches, they have been punching their one-millimetre-diameter ovipositors into the cables and laying eggs. In at least 1,000 cases over the past two years, the cicadas have either severed the cable or opened up a hole, allowing water to seep in.

This has to be one of the coolest news items ever–I love how the cicadas think our technology is part of nature. And then destroy it :)

No word on whether Godzilla is involved behind the scenes.

Posted by Gwen Pearson

Writer. Nerd. Insect Evangelist. Have you heard the good news? BUGS!

3 Comments

  1. I want to purchase this article
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    mutters to himself, sheesh, how much does the dead tree edition cost? Dang, this would have been nice to show to my girlfriend. She was none too happy when Magicicada came out of the ground three years ago.

  2. It was nice to read that the telephone companies are not responding by attempting to destroy the cicadas. Instead, it says, they are replacing their cables with a new model that will be more resistant to them.

  3. Hey Bug Girl,

    I lived in the Niigata prefecture for a year. The cicadas were so loud I was forced to buy earplugs so I could sleep.

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