A Musical Interlude

I’m sure most of you have heard that the Great Cicada Emergence of 2011 is happening all up and down the east coast this year.  Cicada Mania is keeping tabs on all the latest emergence news, including some startling video of urinating cicadas. You drink sap for 13 years….you’re gonna have to go sometime.

They scooped me by posting this video first, but it made me laugh, so I thought I would share it again.

I don’t agree with the sentiment in this song, but: “I’m so sick of cicadas…I know they’re not as bad as Al Qaeda…” .
Now THAT is an awesome rhyme.  The cicada photoshopping is also quite amusing.

 

9 thoughts on “A Musical Interlude

  1. Agreed, awesome rhymes and photoshopping. I remember a 13 year emergence when I was an undergraduate bug student at the University of Maryland, so the sentiment isn’t hard to understand.

    The only cicadas I can remember being sick of, though, are the Australian wet sclerophyll/ rainforest margin species whose intense, pounding screeching sometimes made your head feel like it would explode (while swatting mosquitoes, pulling ticks, trying not to step on snakes, and avoiding the Gympie stingers and lawyer vine while trying to get your samples bagged and out).

    In Alberta, we have cicadas, but they are so quiet that even if you listen, you are unlikely to notice them. No crickets, no katydids either. Last weekend in the bush the only loud insect noise was from chironomid swarms – sounded like aliens from a spaceship.

  2. What is it about cicaidas that makes them all synchronize like that? Do none come out a year early or a year late so that over many many generations it spreads out and you get an equal number every year instead of a huge spike?

    Or does that lead to reproductive isolation and eventual speciation with no gene flow between the cohorts? But still, wouldn’t that mean we’d end up with species A peaking this year, B next year and C the year after that, with a roughly equal number of cicaidas every year instead of huge spikes?

  3. It’s believed to be the end result of many centuries of selection. There are actually several different species, and they run on 13 and 17 year cycles. (which are also prime numbers).
    That lets them outlive most of their predators, since few animals have a life cycle (or memory for prey) that is that long. And yes, that definitely led to reproductive isolation!

    There are other species of cicadas that don’t cycle yearly, and emerge every year—dog day cicadas are the most common example. They do have some specialist predators–the rather alarmingly sized but harmless cicada killer wasps.

  4. Catchy song, but yes, I don’t quite agree with her sentiment. Maybe I’d feel differently if I actually lived somewhere that the periodical cicadas came out in quantity.

    Speaking of songs/videos about being bothered by insects: have you seen “Blackfly”?

    http://www.nfb.ca/film/blackfly/

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