A long-standing agricultural query about periodical cicadas that emerge every 13 or 17 years was recently answered by a research team at USDA Agricultural Research Service: Once periodical cicadas emerge, do they actually feed on vegetation? Their analysis of the gut contents found plant DNA in mature adult cicadas but none in freshly emerged adults, a strong sign that adult cicadas do feed on plants, since no plant matter in cicadas’ guts carries over from their nymph stage.
When the world's largest brood of 17-year periodical cicadas rose from the ground in spring 2021, the eastern U.S. (and beyond) was ready. Half a million crowdsourced observations later, the entomologists who followed the Brood X 2021 emergence reflect on the experience.
More than 20 broods of periodical cicadas inhabit the eastern United States, and researchers are refining their mapping of brood ranges with increasing precision at every new emergence. A new report in the Annals of the Entomological Society of America details new advances in mapping cicadas from researchers who studied Brood VI in 2000 and 2017.
Scientists are looking to the public for help in mapping 17-year cicadas in the massive Brood X due to emerge from the ground this spring in the eastern U.S. The citizen-science effort, powered by a smartphone app, could generate the biggest-ever observation data set in the history of cicada research. Here's how you can participate.