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Curious City Cicadas thumb

A cicada sheds its nymphal skin in May 2021. Scientists say this particular brood of cicadas, Brood X, which come out only once every 17 years, is one of the largest ever.

Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press

Curious City Cicadas thumb

A cicada sheds its nymphal skin in May 2021. Scientists say this particular brood of cicadas, Brood X, which come out only once every 17 years, is one of the largest ever.

Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press

Who wins during Cicada Eruption 2024? It turns out it’s the caterpillars

The Midwest is seeing the biggest cicada event in over a century.

A cicada sheds its nymphal skin in May 2021. Scientists say this particular brood of cicadas, Brood X, which come out only once every 17 years, is one of the largest ever.

Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press

   

More than just a nuisance, periodical cicadas are an important player in the forest ecosystem. A 2023 study published in the journal Science, found that 80 species of birds started eating cicadas instead of caterpillars during the Brood X emergence, which had an effect on trees where the caterpillars live.

Reset learns how the current eruption of cicadas affects the forest ecosystem, and the ripple effects we could be seeing for years to come.

GUESTS: Zoe Getman-Pickering, ecologist, lead author of Periodical Cicadas disrupt trophic dynamics through community-level shifts in avian foraging, published in Science

Karen Weigert, director of Loyola University Chicago’s Baumhart Center for Social Enterprise and Responsibility 

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