Trending Topics: research News•The Entomology Profession•Amazing Insects•Science Policy and Outreach
Annkatrin Rose via iNaturalist, CC BY-NC 4.0

" data-image-caption="

Entomologists that collaborated to create Cicada Safari, a mobile application to collect citizen observations of magazine cicadas, hoped they might get 50,000 observations throughout the Brood X cicada development in 2021. They acquired that, and then some: practically 200,000 human being downloaded the app, and also they submitted an ext than 560,000 photographs and also 28,000 videos. (Photo by Annkatrin Rose via iNaturalist, CC BY-NC 4.0

" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" loading="lazy" class="wp-image-15957 size-full" src="" alt="periodical cicada" width="878" height="659" srcset=" 1000w, 390w, 768w, 800w, 400w, 200w, 107w" sizes="(max-width: 878px) 100vw, 878px" data-recalc-dims="1" />

Entomologists who collaborated to produce Cicada Safari, a mobile application to collect citizen monitorings of periodic cicadas, hope they might get 50,000 observations during the Brood X cicada appearance in 2021. They gained that, and also then some: almost 200,000 civilization downloaded the app, and also they submitted much more than 560,000 photographs and also 28,000 videos. (Photo by Annkatrin Rose via iNaturalist, CC BY-NC 4.0

Well. That whole cicada thing was quite the fuss, wasn’t it?

If you missed the a pair months back, a straightforward recap: The world’s largest introduction of periodic cicadas emerged this spring in the mid-Atlantic and eastern Midwest regions of the united States, v billions of them rising from the earth after a 17-year wait, make a bunch that noise, mating and reproducing, then quickly dying. The all started in April and also was over by the finish of June. What’s left the them now are their eggs, which will certainly hatch this summer (or currently are in some places), in ~ which suggest the nymphs will make their means back underground to bide your time till 2038.

You are watching: How many cicadas are in brood x

It to be a bonanza. For the cicadas themselves, because that the birds and other animals that gorged top top them, for the citizen researchers who observed them, for the media outlets and also social media influencers that rode the wave, and—of course—for the skilled entomologists who study them.

Entomology Today caught up with several entomologists who were busy v Brood X this year to obtain their think on what lock saw, what new discoveries may arise indigenous data gathered throughout the emergence, and how this go-round compared to the critical one in 2004.

A Perfect Storm for citizens Science

Cicada Safari application (iOS and also Android) can snap a picture or record a video clip of cicadas in your yard or elsewhere. The date, time, and also geographical collaborates of each monitoring are instantly captured and additionally uploaded right into the app, which climate maps every one of the monitorings for both real-time examination and future research. App users deserve to see the map together well. (Image courtesy that Gene Kritsky, Ph.D., mount St. Joseph University)

" data-image-caption="

Users the the complimentary Cicada Safari app (iOS and Android) have the right to snap a photo or capture a video clip of cicadas in their yard or elsewhere. The date, time, and geographical collaborates of each monitoring are instantly captured and likewise uploaded into the app, which climate maps all of the observations for both real-time examination and future research. Application users have the right to see the map as well. (Image courtesy the Gene Kritsky, Ph.D., mountain St. Joseph University)

" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" loading="lazy" class="wp-image-15337" src="" alt="Cicada Safari screenshot" width="200" height="433" srcset=" 390w, 37w, 462w" sizes="(max-width: 200px) 100vw, 200px" data-recalc-dims="1" />

Cicada Safari app screenshot (Image courtesy that Gene Kritsky, Ph.D., mount St. Joseph University)

In April, us shared very early look in ~ Cicada Safari, a mobile app developed through a cadre the cicada researchers and also spearheaded by Gene Kritsky, Ph.D., dean that Behavioral and also Natural sciences at mount St. Joseph university in Cincinnati, Ohio. Arisen in conjunction with Mount St. Joseph’s facility for that Engagement, the app permitted users come snap a photo or capture a video of your cicada sightings and also upload them (along through date, time, and geographical coordinates, automatically) for mapping that the Brood X emergence.

At the time, Kritsky claimed he and also colleagues were hoping to “go yes, really big” and also get 50,000 observations. Well, they gained that, and then some.

“In total, over 196,000 people downloaded the app, and they submitted over 560,000 photographs and over 28,000 videos,” Kritsky says. “At one time throughout the emergence’s optimal Sunday , end 8,000 world were making use of the app at the very same time, and also that day we received over 37,000 photographs.”

Considering exactly how engrossing the substantial cicada emergences space where castle occur, the saturation of media coverage and also social media activity on the subject, and also today’s common mobile technology, it’s easy to see just how a citizen-science application with a simple task—upload a photo of an insect that’s simple to find—found broad adoption. Still, those numbers room impressive.

“The significant surprise to me was just how Cicada Safari became a story in itself, generating substantial international and national interest,” Kritsky says.

So much to Study

What to carry out with the trove of data, plus all the direct observations researcher made in the field themselves?

Chris Simon, Ph.D., professor in the department of Ecology & evolution Biology in ~ the college of Connecticut, claims she and collaborators who had actually a hand in Cicada Safari room working top top a paper now that will compile the observation data indigenous the application (both because that Brood X this year and also Broods VIII and IX indigenous the previous two years), observations contributed via UConn’s cicadas hub, and also other sources. She’s also working top top a national Science structure grant proposal with number of colleagues in the U.S. And Japan to succession the complete genomes that seven types of periodic cicadas and model the results of climate change on their lifecycles.

Simon’s UConn colleague john Cooley, Ph.D., states he wishes the new data will illuminate if and also how Brood X’s geographic borders have changed. “It’s an continuous question how much, if any, this boundaries adjust in the brief term, though it’s obvious that castle must readjust in the long term, due to the fact that they room living in formerly glaciated areas,” he says. “Understanding change will far better help us recognize whether anything the we’re seeing can be defined by global climate change.”

Mike Raupp, Ph.D., professor emeritus in the room of Entomology in ~ the college of Maryland, states he will usage data native Cicada Safari to to compare the introduction of Brood X outliers that emerged a year early in 2020 in the better Washington, DC, an ar to those that appeared this year.

And Zoe Getman-Pickering, Ph.D., postdoctoral scientist in the room of biological Sciences in ~ George Washington University, reports she and colleagues at GWU and other establishments are experimenting a hold of research questions on cicadas, including just how the cicada appearance perturbs oak woodland food webs, if cicadas prefer certain hosts because that oviposition and how the affects different tree species, and measuring the density and also scope that the cicada emergence based upon residual introduction holes in various habitat types, to inform how past and future land use readjust might impact the Brood X population size.

" data-image-caption="Entomologists say the Brood X magazine cicada emergence of 2021—and the incredible volume of monitorings logged via the Cicada Safari cell phone app—will open up up a host of research study avenues, exploring areas including exactly how climate change affects your lifecycles, how their geographical ranges are changing, why part brood members emerge early on or late, and how their egg-laying affects different plant tree species. (Photo by Pennsylvania department of Conservation and Natural resources – Forestry,

" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" loading="lazy" class="wp-image-15958 size-full" src="" alt="periodical cicadas" width="878" height="571" srcset=" 1000w, 390w, 768w, 123w" sizes="(max-width: 878px) 100vw, 878px" data-recalc-dims="1" />

Entomologists to speak the Brood X periodical cicada emergence of 2021—and the remarkable volume of monitorings logged via the Cicada Safari mobile app—will open up up a hold of research study avenues, exploring locations including how climate readjust affects their lifecycles, how their geographical ranges room changing, why some brood members emerge early or late, and also how your egg-laying affects different plant tree species. (Photo through Pennsylvania department of Conservation and also Natural sources – Forestry,

A new Environment for science Communication

Part of the funny of a magazine cicada introduction is just thinking about how the world has adjusted in all the time the cicadas spent underground. As soon as Brood X critical emerged, president George W. Shrub was running for a 2nd term as president, and also the Detroit Pistons were on their means to a 4-1 collection victory over the L.A. Lakers in the 2004 NBA Finals. Much more important, though: The Cicada Safari application wasn’t even feasible in 2004 (the iphone phone debuted in 2007), and likewise the social media and also online media changes were just start (Facebook was still “” at a grasp of universities in June 2004, and Twitter launched in 2006).

Kritsky, Simon, Cooley, Raupp, and also Getman-Pickering—among countless other entomologists—say castle fielded plenty of media requests, native outlets across TV, radio, print, blogs, podcasts, and even filmmakers. And also their outreach efforts diversified, together well. Kritsky’s team constructed an accompanying website for the Cicada Safari app, and also Getman-Pickering and also colleagues did likewise with your Friend come Cicadas site, which offered FAQs, photos, an educational workbook, art, and even a haiku contest. At the university of Maryland, Raupp led a graduate food in science communication in i beg your pardon the students developed out a website and conducted online outreach via YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, in addition to dozens of interviews with national and local media outlets.

Raupp states Brood X seemed to obtain a more welcome reception this year than in the past. “One large difference I experienced this time was the an extremely positive ‘spin’ media inserted on the entire event,” he says. “There to be very little ‘OMG, below comes the plague’ and much an ext ‘OMG, cicadas are so cool.’ So, my thanks to countless entomologists, naturalists, and journalists the made this a really positive event.”

Other Observations

According come Kritsky, the very first sighting that adult Brood X cicada to emerge from the ground and also be reported via Cicada Safari come on march 3. The was means ahead the schedule, together cicada appearance is trigged once ground temperature warms, however there to be a an easy explanation: “It emerged inside a tent v a warm tub,” Kritsky says.

Once the emergence started in many areas, some cool weather in might slowed points down in part places. Simon states a rainy Memorial work weekend offered her a possibility to view cicadas emerging in suboptimal conditions. “I to be surprised to view nymphs able to eclose at 12 degrees Celsius temps through a irradiate drizzle, but instead of acquisition one hour to obtain out that the shell, they would take other like 5 hours, and then the cuticle hardening/tanning process took ar much much more slowly, raising the cicadas’ vulnerability.”

" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" width="617" height="345" data-original-width="617" data-original-height="345" itemprop="" title="Mike Raupp top top ABC" alt="Mike Raupp on ABC" style="width: 617px; height: 345px;" />
Mike Raupp, Ph.D., professor emeritus in the room of Entomology at the university of Maryland, performed several media interviews top top Brood X cicadas in his neighbors’ yards in Columbia, Maryland.
Raupp’s neighborhood in Columbia, Maryland, is appropriate in the love of Brood X country, and also on numerous occasions he invited reporters and news crews doing stories on the cicadas come visit that there. He claims his neighbors’ yards such as the one in this segment through ABC’s World News Now (screenshot above) are “surely the most viewed see of cicadas in the world. … The neighbors had lots that fun with this.”

University of Maryland entomology professor Dan Gruner, Ph.D., centered his spring “Principles that Ecology” class on the cicada emergence, v students measuring soil temperatures in anticipation of Brood X’s arrival. “Many students were having a challenging time in their 3rd semester under pandemic lockdown, so ns think castle felt some empathy because that the momentous chance as the cicadas clawed their means from belowground in the spring,” the says.

See more: How Many People Watched The Super Bowl This Year, Super Bowl Lv Draws Audience Of 96

Elsewhere, in a scene the likely arisen all across the Brood X range, cicadas were an object of fascination because that one young entomologist (pictured above), whose mother, Karen Maguylo, mutual that her son “collects the cicadas and also tries to find their tymbal or ovipositor to figure out if it’s male or female. If that fails, he gets it to do a sound to number it out.”

Finally, together we lid off the 2021 version of Brood X, we have the right to remember them through a song, by entomologist Samuel Ramsey, Ph.D. Might this track be play in our heads until 2038.