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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.

"Bugs" are in the news this month.

First of all, Gregory Vogt stopped by to let us know how the Spiders in Space were doing:

"The spiders made it to orbit Monday morning. The Space Shuttle Endeavour will rendezvous and dock with the International Space Station Wednesday morning. The spiders will be unstowed from Endeavour and transferred to the station Thursday morning. We should have the first pictures available for viewing by the weekend. Check out http://www.bioedonline.org."

Should be interesting to see how the spiders do in space.

Periodical cicadas are also in the news. There is a large emergence of thirteen year cicadas, Magicicada tredecim, across the southeastern United States right now. They are called thirteen year cicadas because they stay underground as nymphs for thirteen years.

Have you ever seen an adult cicada emerge? Here is a time lapse video that shows the process.

Edit: At the request of readers, I have removed the video because of the noise. You can watch it at Mark Dolies' link.

Video by Mark Dolejs (click the link to see how he made the video).

BugGuide has some good still photographs and more information.

Related posts:
Summer Sounds
Every Seventeen Years at Stop the Ride

Have you ever seen/heard periodical cicadas?

We were just driving in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania near the town of Allenwood when we heard a cacophony outside, apparently coming from the trees. It was loud enough to hear with the car windows rolled up. Then I saw some of the noisy culprits flying in the road. They were large, thumb-sized insects with bright red eyes. I knew immediately we had encountered periodical cicadas.

I'm sure many people drove right on by without realizing that they were seeing insects that had spent their lives underground since 1991! Isn't that amazing?

For more information, see this Penn State Fact Sheet.