It's not over yet: The 'dog day' cicadas are here

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The 17-year cicadas have returned to eastern Ohio a little late this year, bringing their signature song back to the tree tops. But they aren’t the only cicadas in Ohio. While this brood (called brood V) is winding down, the song has just started in Columbus.

What Norm Johnson, Director of the Tripplehorn Insect Collection, calls the “dog day” cicadas are just starting to come out now. “[T]he 17-years are a springtime-thing and the dog days come out, as the name suggests, in the dog days of summer.”

But Johnson says don’t call it an invasion – they’re here all the time. “[O]nce every 17 years they pop out. Males come out, sing, attract the females and the females come and mate and they come out in these big gluts.” He says this particular cicada’s 17-year cycle is a fascinating display of nature.

It’s probably the red eyes that are the cicada’s most startling feature. That and the incredible noise they can produce in chorus . There was one year they were so loud that they could be heard throughout the Memorial tournament and in every broadcast. The mating song of the male cicada can go upwards of 80 decibels, rivaling a jet engine at close range.

They may be big and noisy, but cicadas really don’t pose any threat. Birds and other wildlife feast on the bugs.

The Tripplehorn Insect Collection at the Ohio State Museum of Biological Diversity has over 8,000 different specimens going back to 1890 and more than 220 different species.

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