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(Public domain image from Wikimedia)

The 17-year cicadas are incredible insects that emerge in mass numbers after spending 17 years underground. In late April to early May 2021, scientists expect a large emergence (called Brood X) in the Eastern and Midwestern United States. To coincide with this amazing natural event is the emergence of a new picture book The Cicadas Are Coming!: Invasion of the Periodical Cicadas! by Doug Wechsler (releasing April 26, 2021).

Ever wonder where the periodical cicadas come from and what they are doing? Step by step, this book supplies the answers.

We have featured Doug Wechsler's book, The Hidden Life of a Toad in a previous post, so we knew to expect fabulous photography, detailed life cycles, and accurate information.

The Cicadas Are Coming! exceeds our expectations. He has captured every detail of the cicadas' life cycle through photographs. He must have spent many, many hours to explore each life stage -- inside and out -- so thoroughly. The photographs are so amazing that the text seems hardly needed.

But don't ignore the text. Wechsler explains the life of cicadas in an engaging way.  He also includes fun fact sidebars to keep young readers turning pages. Did you know that a cicada's ears are on its abdomen?

The back matter includes many more facts, a glossary, and resources for finding out more.

All in all The Cicadas Are Coming! is perfect for nature lovers and curious scientists of all ages. Break out a copy today!

Related Activity Suggestions:

1. Visit Doug Wechsler's website for more fantastic nature photographs.

2. Explore how a cicada makes sounds.

Do you see the flap called the tymbal that acts sort of like a drum head? That tiny structure allows the male cicada to generate an extremely loud noise.

Make a model using a tin can and a balloon (instructions in this previous post, Activity 4)

3. Dissect a cicada exoskeleton

Have you ever seen a cicada nymph exoskeleton on a tree trunk or the side of a building?

Look at it closely and you can see many features of the insect, from the claws on the front legs -- that it uses to dig with -- to the silvery strands inside that are the remnants of its breathing tubes (trachea). See if you can find the poky beak of a mouth (often directed down between the legs), the eyes, and the pads on it's back where the wings formed.

If you have one available, examine it under a microscope.

For more, check out our previous cicada posts.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

Reading age: 6 - 9 years
Publisher: Doug Wechsler (April 26, 2021)
ISBN-10: 1737021714
ISBN-13: 978-1737021711

Disclosure: This book was provided electronically by the author for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books. Note: this is a new link as of 10/2018.

1

Cicadas here in the Sonoran desert start singing around Father's Day and can be found throughout the summer. Because they are so abundant, you might not take a second look at them.

While out picking blueberries recently, a California woman did notice a cicada and she took a photograph of it. After she uploaded the photo the iNaturalist, an expert realized it wasn't any old cicada. The cicada belongs to the species Okanagana arctostaphylae, which hasn't been seen in over a century!

Check out the details in the article at iNaturalist and the see Okanagana arctostaphylae in the video below.

The reddish-brown body and wings matches the distinctive colors of the manzanita plant it rests on.

If there are seventeen year cicadas, it makes you wonder how long this species spends underground...

2

It must still be summer. Do you know how I can tell?

I am still seeing and hearing cicadas!

I was able to get very close to this one, even though it was still alive.

Really, really close.

Can you see its antennae? What about the shiny simple eyes on the top of its head, called ocelli?

I can also see the tymbals, the organs right under the front of the wings that male cicadas use to produce their singing buzz.

Check out this video to see the male cicada tymbals in action:

Are cicadas still singing where you live?