Despite all the talk about the "disappointing" cicada season, scientists now insist that this year's horny insects "had a pretty good year."
Despite all the talk about the "disappointing" cicada season that was "canceled" because of evil urban development, scientists now insist that this year's horny insects "had a pretty good year." They may not have popped up for a romp in your backyard, but that doesn't mean they didn't sing their love songs elsewhere. "Brood II has been exuberant here in Pennsylvania," one of many cicada experts tells The New York Times's Carl Zimmer. And all entomology aside, the trackers have shown a mini-swarm as the 17-year seasonal phenomenon moves past its peak.
Your average property owner wasn't exactly looking forward to the buzzsaw-level decibels of East Coast bug sex, but the hype was unavoidable. Turns out, much of the public disappointment on this year's swarm stems from areas where either Brood II never existed or wasn't expected to emerge. For example, the cranky New Yorkers who wanted to see some cicadas pop out of the ground in Central Park should have known there's far too much concrete in Manhattan for the brood to emerge. No, the noisy sex fiends, actually congregated in the greener pastures of, you know, the Bronx and Staten Island. Philadelphia — whose NBC news affiliate declared this summer "The Cicada Invasion that Wasn't" — falls into Brood X territory, and Brood X wasn't coming above-ground this year anyway. A little further north of Philly, in Allentown, there was cicada-sighting joy.
"I have been amazed by the extent of the range, which was not documented in the historical record," the cicada scientist told the Times. And Washington, D.C. also falls into Brood X land, but as you can see in this map via Capital Weather Gang, the surrounding areas were, indeed, serenaded with bug love songs:
Elsewhere, the hornbugs were out in full sexual force, as this real-time map from Magicicada shows:
Although the clustering looks heavy in the New York City area, zooming in further shows most of the cicadas emerged for their sexcipades in the surrounding areas, not in the urban concrete swell:
In addition, Radiolab's crowdsourced tracker shows sightings all over the place, too:
So, yeah, they were here: They sang, they mated, and now they're dying off, a brood never to be seen again for another 17 years. Although we had our fears about a billion bug invasion, we have to say we're going to miss the little guys in all their boisterous glory.
This post originally appeared on The Atlantic Wire.