At any given moment we’ve got animals living under our feet – some of them for 17 years at a time. An underground universe populated by mysterious creatures, digging… feeding… emerging.
Sometimes their underground homes get paved over, or flooded, or have a bucket of bright green toxic sludge poured on them. Scientists want to learn more about what happens to cicadas when they’re down there for so long – so they need your help. Go out with your students, parents, kids, grandparents, friends, dogs, friend’s dogs and collect some dead bugs and send them to us! (Yes, you heard that right.)
Cicadas are sensitive to changes in their environment, especially temperature and the availability of trees.
As more people populate the planet… we build cities and homes and those come with roads and sidewalks and pollution. Have you ever noticed that the sidewalk is hotter than the grass? The cicadas noticed that, too. These rising temperatures are sometimes called an “urban heat island” – which sounds like a lovely place to visit, right?
Researchers are studying how cicadas are responding to environmental changes associated with urbanization (humans building more buildings and paving more land) by measuring the wonkiness (“abnormalities and asymmetry”) in cicada wings and legs.