Skip to Main Content

Cicada Emergence: Home

Every 13 or 17 years, a remarkable event takes place in nature: the emergence of periodical cicadas. These fascinating insects spend the majority of their lives underground, hidden from view, feeding quietly on root sap. Then, as if responding to an ancient signal, they emerge in unison, driven by the warming soil reaching about 64°F.

Imagine a quiet forest floor, suddenly teeming with life as nymphs by the thousands crawl out of the earth. They shed their exoskeletons, transforming into winged adults in a matter of hours. This mass emergence, designed by nature, ensures their survival; their sheer numbers overwhelm predators, allowing enough cicadas to escape and reproduce.

For the next 4-6 weeks, the air is filled with the distinct sound of cicada songs as males call to attract females. After mating, females lay their eggs in tree branches. Soon, the adults die off, and the cycle begins anew. The eggs hatch, and tiny nymphs fall to the ground, burrowing into the soil to start their long, subterranean journey once again.

UConn Cicada Collection: A 3D Model Collection Created by UConn Library

A collaboration among the UConn Library's Digital Imaging Lab and the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology's Chris Simon and John Cooley.

Photos of Cicadas Emerging in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Photo credits to Yesenia Redwing, 2024

Articles of interest

An Animated Guide to the Rare 2024 Cicada Co-Emergence
(Murga, S. & Tweeten, L. 2024, April 17). Time Magazine

Here Come the Cicadas!
(Rosenholm, G. 2024, April 29) Forest Service: US Department of Agriculture

Billions of cicadas are set to appear in a rare ‘double brood emergence,’ scientists say
(Golembiewski, K. 2024, April 10). CNN

2024 cicada map: Where to find Brood XIII, Brood XIX around the Midwest and Southeast
(DeLetter, E. 2024, June 7) USA Today.

Take an Interactive Tour WIth CNN's Visual Guide To Cicadas

"Cicada Emergence 2024" is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by Elizabeth Kennedy and Gateway Technical College Libraries.