Researchers Say Cicadas Won't Be Here For Long

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COLUMBIA - Cicada researchers from the University of Connecticut, in Columbia for a science conference, said Monday the cicada singing in trees should only last about a month. Researcher John Cooley said the singing is from male cicadas calling females to mate. "Only males have the abdominal organs that can make the sound", said David Marshall, also of the Unversity of Connecticut. Marshall said the sound only occurs during the day time and is at its loudest during the heat of the day. 

The mating call is part of a pattern that occurs every thirteen years with these species of cicadas. Cicadas mate, lay eggs in tree twigs, burrow themselves into the ground, drink from tree roots, and resurface thirteen years later. Researchers noted several benefits of the cicadas "They aren't toxic and are great for soil airation," said Marshall. Cooley said cicadas help make nitrogen, a gas plants need, available. "This kind of species [around Mid-Missouri] aren't going to affect crops," said Cooley.

Cooley also mentioned cicadas are food source for other animals. "Pretty much anything that can get its hands on them," said Marshall. Brian Johnson, an employee at Which Wich in downtown Columbia, said his friends caught cicadas and sauteed them in butter. "I didn't get a chance to try it, though," said Johnson.

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