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Ready or not -here we come. Periodical cicada Part 2

May 4, 2021
Three cicadas on tree

Photo credit: John Obermeyer

Since writing about the imminent, magical, cicada emergence last month several intriguing follow-up questions have been posed, including; “Where do these strange insects come from and are they prehistoric relics?”

Apparently their unique appearance and bizarre behaviors have captured the imagination of cultures and civilizations since ancient times. Cicadas have been painted on cave walls, recorded in papyrus scrolls, carved in coins and sculpted as jewelry for centuries. They are mentioned in the Iliad by Homer about 10,000 B.C. The word cicada is old enough that it actually means cicada in Latin. The unique life cycle of periodical cicadas has influenced mythology throughout history. Behaviorally it is described as quasi cito cadens. Quasi means (apparently), cito (swiftly) and cadens (a harmonic configuration that creates a sense of resolution or finality). In sum “to appear then vanish quickly.”

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