The Cicada Many Things to Many People

In this century of rapid scientific discovery, there still exist natural phenomena with the power to inspire wonder and mystery. The cicada, an insect known since ancient times, is one such phenomenon. Because scientific
knowledge of the cicada contains many gaps, these mysterious insects can still stimulate our imagination or lead
us into confusion. At the present time, the cicada is many things to many people: it is a curiosity that should be approached scientifically; it is a source of superstition and dread; it is also little more than an annoying, seasonal inconvenience.
The cicada is a stout, black insect about an inch in length. Various species of this insect can be found all over North of the America. When the cicada is at rest, its large, transparent, veined wings are folded over the top of its body and extend about a quarter of an inch beyond it. Cicada wing veins are and information reddish orange in color, as are its eyes and legs. The front legs are sharp and crablike, allowing the animal to hold tight to the bark of trees. The species of American cicada most written about by scientists and most wondered about by the general public is known as the periodical cicada. Its scientific name is Magicicada septendecim. This species of cicada appears above ground only once every seventeen years.
What the cicada does underground for most of its seventeen-year life span was a mystery until fairly recently. In the early part of this century, a man named C.L. Marlett, who worked for the United States Department of Agriculture, decided to find out. He began burying cicada eggs in his backyard and digging them up periodically for observation. He soon found out that the cicada begins life as a tiny nymph about six hundredths of an inch in length. A nymph is an immature insect, before it has fully developed
During their sixteen years and ten and one-half months underground, cicada nymphs are nestled against tree roots from whic…

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