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Monday, May 24, 2004

 

Cicada Love

Tug-of-War
Romeo found me in the lunchroom just as I was about to make my first cup of coffee. Romeo is our manager of quality control, a genial and unflappable guy, but he looked more than a little excited now.

"Steve - bring your camera out back!" he urged. Wait 'til you see this!

As he led the way out to the back parking lot, I noticed a lot more cicada activity than I had seen so far. There were dozens of cicadas climbing high up on the brick walls of our building. The cicada noise, which had already been loud before today, was now much noisier, with a more frantic, high-pitched component added.

Then Romeo pointed to the sidewalk just ahead of us, where I saw two cicadas neatly arranged tuchis-to-tuchis, as if they were playing tug-of-war with the world's smallest rope.

"How romantic!" I thought. The time has come, and our cicadas are gettin' down!
Perpetutating the Species
I bent down and took a few photos of the amorous couple as they coupled. As cicadas buzzed around us, Romea looked over the immediate area and found several more passionate pairs. We picked up a pair to see how they "did it." They flapped and protested a bit but stayed locked together and kept on keepin' on, and what we were able to see looked basically familiar, except... well... insect-y!

I found a few more bawdy bugs and snapped some more photos catching them in the act. Then I turned my attention to "singles", picking several of them up to see how they were doing. I noticed quite a few played-out males, a little thingie, that I assume is the schmeckle, still hanging out of the tip of their abdomen. A few of them could barely crawl. I wonder if that's it - they schtupp a few times and then kick the bucket? It seems too early - I understand they'll be around until mid- or late-June. Well, we'll see.

I now consider myself an expert in cicada sex. Any questions, go ahead and ask. But first get a note from your parents.

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