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Last modified: Thursday, April 26, 2007

"Return of the cicada" to premier today

April 26, 2007

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A documentary film produced by Indiana University about the 17-year cicada emergence will be premiered today (April 26). "Return of the Cicadas" is scheduled for broadcast at 9 p.m. by WFYI, a public television station in Indianapolis. It also will be shown at 4 p.m. in Myers Hall, Room 130, on the IUB campus.

Documentary producer Samuel Orr followed the life cycle of Brood X through close-up video and time-lapse photography. Brood X made its momentous ascension in the spring of 2004, in what accounted for one of the largest insect outbreaks on Earth.

Two cicadas mate

Photo by: Chris Simon

Two cicadas mate during their brief above-ground reproductive period.

Print-Quality Photo

Periodical cicadas are among the most unique creatures in the animal kingdom. Many different cicada broods exist on their own 17-year schedules. Brood XIII is due to arrive in northern Indiana in May of 2007, and Brood XIV will emerge in southern Indiana in 2008.

After spending 17 years underground as juveniles -- the longest such stage among insects -- the cicadas emerge for a brief, cacophonous population explosion above ground, where they transform into adults, mate, lay eggs and die off after only a few weeks. Periodical cicadas occur only in the eastern United States and are found throughout Indiana.

The documentary was made possible by the research of Indiana University biologist Keith Clay through grants provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The NSF and Science Magazine recognized the production with a national award for a short 5-minute film on the Brood X outbreak.

"Return of the Cicadas" is made possible through a Communicating Research to Public Audiences (CRPA) grant from the National Science Foundation and the Office of the Vice Provost for Research.