Monday, July 25, 2005

Heat bugs: The sound of money?

Some of us know them as heat bugs, or "dog-day" cicadas. Whatever they're called, the rasping sound of cicadas in July is for many of us the sound of summer. If you're lucky enough to find a certain variety of periodical cicada in the Hartford area in the next five days, you might just be able to claim a $50 reward.

The cicada's familiar buzz is a sound male cicadas make to attract females by rapidly expanding and contracting a membrane found under their hind legs. There are over 150 species of cicadas in the US. Certain periodical cicadas, such as insects belonging to the genus Magicicada, emerge from underground burrows just once every 13 or 17 years.

"Magicicada septendecim" hasn't been found in Hartford, Tolland or Windham counties since 1954, and is thought to have gone extinct. John Cooley, Asst Professor at UConn, is eager for someone in the region to find and bring him a live specimen, but there are only five days left to claim the prize.

Even if you don't win, there are lots of great web sites available to tell you everything you want to know about cicadas. Check out Cicada Central or UConn Professor Chris Simon's site for more info.


At 1:25 PM, Blogger sandy said...

If you collect the bugs for the $50 reward doesn't that threaten its population?


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