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Cicadas Heading Underground Until 2021

  1. Jul 11, 2004 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tm...3&e=1&u=/ap/20040710/ap_on_sc/so_long_cicadas

    An interesting critter. When I was 16 and we moved to Northern California, our neighbor had this absolutely huge plant that produced a flower like nothing I had ever seen. When it didn't bloom the next year and we asked her why she said that it only blooms about every 100 years. I think it was called a century plant, or a century cactus. Must google.
     
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  3. Jul 11, 2004 #2

    Gokul43201

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    I read an interesting article in the Post that talked about why the lifespans of the magicicada have evolved to be prime numbers.
     
  4. Jul 11, 2004 #3
    Have you guys ever had to live with those things?! Argh! Its hell! There are millions of them every where and the noise! Oh the noise all the time! But you get use to it after time...
     
  5. Jul 11, 2004 #4

    Moonbear

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    Oh, man, Entropy, you sound like all the wackos around where I live. You would have sworn we were being invaded by extra terrestrials the way the news hyped it, I thought I wouldn't be able to walk outside without being divebombed by mad swarms of cicadas, and was sure I'd go deaf from their incessant screams. I live in one of the hardest hit areas of my city, and had one tree in my yard literally covered in cicadas...what looked like bark at a distance was really thousands and thousands of cicadas. And you know what? They hardly bothered me at all. They were so busy trying to find mates, they couldn't be bothered swarming on people. Sure, for about 2 hours every afternoon, they seemed to reach their peak activity and were out chirping and bumping into things (they are not agile when it comes to flight). The empty shells left from the nymphs were pretty nasty looking, but they are now turning into fine fertilizer in my flower gardens, I didn't have to waste money renting a machine to aerate my lawn, and they even pruned a few overgrown trees for me. Overall, I think they were good neighbors for the month and half they were around. T'be honest, I've never seen such bumbling, stupid bugs. They were fun to watch, just because they seemed so goofy. But, being the science geek I am, I was one of those out late at night with a flashlight watching them emerging...cool. I couldn't keep myself awake long enough to see how long it took them to acquire their pigment...they'd molt out of those nymph shells almost pure white, and then turn black...I wanted to see how the pigment appeared as it developed, but ran out of patience. The only time I had any real run-ins with them was while mowing the lawn...apparently they were confused by the lawnmower engine and mistook it for a cicada mating call because that was the only time I saw them swarm and all tried to land on the lawnmower. I decided any cicada that thought it could mate with a lawnmower shouldn't survive the natural selection process and was promptly run over with that same lawnmower. I actually enjoyed their sounds...they were funny...when I tried to sweep them off my deck, they'd screech at me, protesting, as if they had a right to hang out uninvited on my deck! The nerve! And when they all joined in together for a chorus, it really didn't sound any louder than any individual cicada...I actually thought that was interesting. And they all settled down at night...well, except in that last week when I think a few were getting really desperate to find mates and stayed up all night chirping. I'm kind of sorry they're gone. They were sort of cute for a bug.
     
  6. Jul 11, 2004 #5

    Monique

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    2021? Good, that should give me some time..
    :eek: :rofl:
    If you say so.. :uhh:
     
  7. Jul 12, 2004 #6

    Eh

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    What exactly do these things look like? They are often heard, but I don't think I've ever actually seen one.
     
  8. Jul 12, 2004 #7
    They look (I think) like large labybirds with fly-like wings. They are red, yellow and green and are harmless to humans. They flood parts of america every ?? years.

    The Bob (2004 ©)

    *EDIT* I was closer in my mind but look at the link that Ivan gives. It is there.
     
  9. Jul 12, 2004 #8

    Ivan Seeking

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    [​IMG]

    http://www.desertusa.com/feb97/du_pcentury.html

    http://www.naturesongs.com/vvplants/centuryplant.html

    The only problem is that I'm quite sure that it didn't die. Anyway, it was quite spectacular that one and only time. I find these sorts of things interesting. I remember reading about some fish eggs that had laid in the desert sand for decades that produced live fish when submerged in water.
     
  10. Jul 12, 2004 #9

    Monique

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    Really, is that the plant? I went into the mountains north of LA, where there's a national park, and the place was full with such dead plants with HUGE dried-up flowering stalks.. I'd doubt they only bloom once in a century.. or it was a good year :wink: maybe I'll post a picture later..
     
  11. Jul 12, 2004 #10

    Monique

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    here it is, under scientific scrutiny :wink:
    [​IMG]
     
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