June 2021 | Color

Two 17-Year Cicadas – Brood X 2021

iPhone 8 Plus | 6.6mm (57mm) | 1/120sec | f/2.8 | ISO 20

More and more cicadas are emerging. At first, we had only a few around our house, but now they are everywhere. I can see them flying around the trees, and now and then, one or more end up on my patio. They rest for a while and then take off again. For some reason, I am rather fond of them.

There is this terrible fungus that can infect these lovely insects. Thankfully, I don’t see too many of them infected with the fungus that could turn some cicadas into sex-crazed ‘salt shakers of death.’ Unlike other fungal pathogens, this fungus (Massospora cicadina) doesn’t kill the insects. Instead, it forces the cicadas to act in ways that promote the fungus’s spread. Smart on behalf of the fungus. I’ve seen a few cicadas with missing lower body parts happily flying around, unaware that half of them is gone.