HomeLatest NewsImpending Cicadas Spark Interest for Fungus Scientists' Research_goals

Impending Cicadas Spark Interest for Fungus Scientists’ Research_goals

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This year, the American Midwest and South will witness a unique wildlife event as two rare broods of periodical cicadas, Brood XIX and Brood XIII, emerge simultaneously. This phenomenon, last seen in 1803, presents a golden opportunity for researchers to study the evolutionary mysteries of these fascinating insects that have synchronized life cycles of roughly 13 and 17 years.

The co-emergence of seven cicada species in 2024 provides researchers with a valuable opportunity to collect data and investigate mysteries, such as the parasitic fungus Massospora that turns adult cicadas into “flying saltshakers of death.” Cicadas spend most of their lives underground as nymphs, feeding on plant roots before emerging to molt into their adult forms and begin their loud mating calls.

Scientists are eager to study how cicada broods count the years and the genetic differences among different strains of cicadas. This year, researchers like Chris Simon are focusing on uncovering subtle distinctions between cicada species and how climate change is influencing their life cycles and distribution. The imminent emergence of these cicadas will not only provide groundbreaking research opportunities but also contribute to the ecological balance of their habitats.

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