Next up for 2020: ‘Zombie Cicadas’
A group of cicadas is known as a 'Plague' and a 'Plague of Zombie Cicadas' sounds fitting the way this year is trending.
Scientists have discovered a cicada population infected by a parasitic fungus that controls the insect's minds and forces them to infect other insects...sexually.
According to CNET, The fungus has chemicals like what is found in ‘magic mushrooms’ that can control the cicadas' actions.
These 'Zombie Cicadas' have been recently been spotted in the Eastern U.S.
It’s very much like a horror film: The spores eat away at the cicada's bottom, abdomen, and even its genitals, where they leave even more spores for the cicada to transmit to other cicadas --- kind of like an STD.
While infected cicadas can no longer mate because their genitals have been stripped away by the fungus, that sure doesn’t stop them from trying --- and then they infect healthy cicadas.
The fungus even makes the male cicadas move their wings to imitate females' mating signals so they can also infect other healthy male cicadas.
Periodical cicadas — unlike annual cicadas — emerge every 13 or 17 years, depending on the species. The soil temperature at 8” typically has to be around 64* for them to surface. Each continental state in the United States has at least four species of Cicadas. According to Insects of Iowa, our state has 16 species of the insect.
There's around 3,000 species of cicadas and they spend most of their life underground. Once they emerge from the soil, and become adults -- they no longer eat --- they simply will mate and die within a few weeks.
According to cicadomania.com, SIX varieties of the periodical cicadas will emerge in or around Iowa in 2024.
Though they are rather frightening to see -- 'Looks Can Be Deceiving." They do not sting or bite but they are LOUD. Some species can be heard up to one mile away.
Credit: BBC Earth via YouTube