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Submitted by on February 19, 2013 – 12:44 pmOne Comment

Cicada02WebThe Cicada is an insect that has a life cycle that revolves around prime numbers. They live most of their life underground as nymphs sustaining themselves on nutrients from the roots of plants and trees. This feeding habit does not damage the plant. The nymphs hatch from eggs and burrow into the soil. During their growth they shed their skins several times as they get larger.
The Cicada emerges from the soil as an adult to quickly mate and females insert fertilized eggs into small twigs on living trees.cicada04Web The cycle for the Cicada is 3 years for most ‘broods’ but some Cicada broods have life cycles of 13 and 17 years. Periodically the brood cycles coincide. On these occasions the number of Cicada are on an epidemic scale.

On the occasions of Cicada invasion people celebrate by revelling in the glory of the Cicada. The emergence of millions of Cicadas provides a striking visual image and the sound they produce can be deafening. The male Cicada sings to attract female Cicadas. The males fly high into the sunlit branches and sing together in chorus in the hope of luring unsuspecting female Cicadas and overcoming them with their male charm and wit.

Cicada03WebThe periodical  Cicadas have black bodies, red eyes and red-orange wing veins in two pairs of clear wings. The Cicadas are clumsy fliers and stay in the upper canopy of trees. However sometimes when cycles converge their overwhelming numbers mean that roads, pavements, houses and shops become covered in Cicadas.

The mature nymphs begin to emerge when the soil temperature reaches 64 degrees; as they dig up to the surface they build tall mud chimneys. However, the fate of the song-loving, chimney-building Cicada is not to be a romantic one. Humans pouncing on the chance of free food devour the hapless Cicadas. With the return of Cicada Brood XIX many people were ready with their forks. Eating Cicadas is not something that is shocking to some. A place where eating squirrel brains for breakfast is not uncommon. Cicada burgers, chocolate covered Cicada and fried Cicada are some of the recipes that are favoured. Scott Southwick, the proprietor of Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream, made the surprisingly popular Cicada ice cream. The boiled bugs are covered in brown sugar and milk chocolate, then mixed in with an ice cream base of brown sugar and butter. Ashlee Horne prefers her Cicadas sautéed in butter and garlic. Jenna Jadin bakes them into banana bread, chocolate chip cookies and rhubarb pie. Others like Cicadas dipped in chocolate for a sweet, crunchy snack.Cicada01Web

In Manchester people can’t wait for the next infestation of Cicada. The thought of free food will take their mind off of ‘Bible study rules for public schools’, a thread on the Manchester forum with 91,100 comments. ‘Female Moveon (far left progressive group) supporter’ is stepped on by Republicans in another thread which has 22,559 comments.
‘High winds and heavy rain caused damage to trees and creeks making travel hazardous across much of Manchester.’ Headline news in Manchester’s local paper.
All this and no FC, that’s the Manchester of Kentucky. An East Manchester without its communists, a North Manchester without Crumpsall Hospital, a Central Manchester without tram 3007. But then a place where the insects have a life cycle based on prime numbers is cool. I really can’t decide. Both Manchesters have rain in common. Being able to use Manchester as a plural is quite exciting. But if there is more than one Manchester there must be more than one of other places, which is a bit disturbing.
More than one Westminster, more than one Romiley, more than one Witney.

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