THE BIZARRE NATURAL WONDER EVERYONE IS BUZZING ABOUT

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“Cicada-geddon” is here: American Humane reminds us to appreciate all our planet’s animals during historic bug emergence

Washington, D.C., May 01, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization, encourages families to come together and learn about the fascinating cicada broods (XIX and XIII) emerging this spring. 

This year will be the first time in over two centuries that two different broods will emerge at the same time. This type of cicada spends over a decade underground, feeding off tree roots until it is time to emerge and start their brief adult life above ground. Americans across the Midwest and South who witness this natural wonder can use the opportunity to teach their children how every creature plays a vital role in our ecosystem.

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“Cicadas have always captivated human interest with their remarkable abundance and impressive size,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president & CEO of American Humane. “Despite their commanding exterior, cicadas symbolize the wondrous diversity of life, highlighting humanity’s humble role amidst the countless species that share our world.”

While to some their appearance may be unwelcome and their chirping annoying—or even alarming—- cicadas are essential to their native habitats. They provide many crucial environmental benefits, including:

  • Aerating the soil. When cicadas burrow and tunnel, they naturally aerate the soil, which helps air, water, and nutrients enrich the roots of plant life.
  • Fertilizing the soil. When cicadas die, their bodies provide an incredible nutrient boost to the soil, stimulating vegetation, which in turn feeds herbivores.
  • Pruning mature trees. Female cicadas lay their eggs at the end of branches, from which the newly born nymphs will drop to the ground before burrowing down and beginning their underground life. Many species of trees benefit from this process and produce more flowers and fruit in the following year.

“Cicadas rarely cause significant damage to the plants they feed on,” said Jason C. Schaller, Curator of Entomology at ABQ BioPark. “However, they are an important food item for a plethora of larger animals including birds, lizards, and various mammals.”

In addition to their ecological contributions, there are a lot of other surprising facts about cicadas. This spring, young learners will have a unique, firsthand educational experience, observing one of nature’s most bizarre animals. Parents can help children learn how cicadas:

  • Generate 100 decibels of noise. When male cicadas emerge, they vibrate a part of their exoskeleton called the tymbals. The noise can reach 100 decibels as hordes of males search for a mate, which interests scientists because of how little energy they expend.
  • Naturally repel water. Microstructures that cover the wings of a cicada help keep the insects dry by repelling water. Scientists are attempting to replicate these marvels of nature to use in human technology.
  • Avoid predators by living underground. The unique lifespan of the cicada helps the species avoid predators through their irregular emergence. While they provide food for creatures big and small, they also emerge in large enough numbers to protect themselves from extinction.

Families across the Midwest and South can expect the cicadas to appear when the soil warms to 64 degrees. Parents and educators are encouraged to use this phenomenon to kick start an enthusiasm for the animal kingdom. Learn more at www.AmericanHumane.org/BeKind.

 

About American Humane: 

American Humane is the United States’ first national humane organization and the world’s largest certifier of animal welfare, helping to verify the humane treatment of more than one billion animals across the globe each year. Founded in 1877, American Humane has been First to Serve™ the cause of animals and for over 145 years has been at the forefront of virtually every major advance in the humane movement. For more information or to support our lifesaving work, please visit www.AmericanHumane.org, follow us on Facebook, X and Instagram and subscribe to our channel on YouTube for the latest breaking news and features about the animals with whom we share our Earth.

 

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CONTACT: Paige Strott American Humane 202-677-4231 [email protected] 

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