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The life and sounds of 17-year cicadas

Insects emerge from below ground after 17 years to mate and make a lot of noise

Last Updated: June 9, 2013

The brood II magicicada spends most of its life underground, emerging for only a few weeks before mating, laying eggs and dying.

It takes 17 years for newly hatched cicadas to reach adulthood. Once they surface, they go about the loud business of finding a mate.

Brood II magicicadas will make their way above ground in the northeastern U.S. early this summer.

The interactive below illustrates the life cycle of the brood II magicicada. Some slides feature the option of playing sound.

Sources:, Cicada Mania. Sounds from


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