In an extraordinary natural event, two separate cicada broods are poised to emerge simultaneously after over two centuries.

Dubbed Brood XIX, hailed as the “Great Southern Brood,” and Brood XIII, known as the “Northern Illinois Brood,” are readying for a synchronized emergence from their subterranean hideouts. While their territories don’t completely overlap, regions across the heartland of America are bracing for an unprecedented double dose of cicada invasion.

Evan Lampert, a biologist at the University of North Georgia, paints a vivid picture of what’s to come: cicada nymphs and their discarded exoskeletons carpeting the ground, adults clinging to trees and foliage, and the air teeming with these remarkable insects.

Emergence of the cicada broods

Tamra Reall, an entomologist from the University of Missouri, describes the impending spectacle as nothing short of magical. “It’s an amazing experience,” she enthuses. “Their genus name is magicicada, and it’s because it’s a magical experience.”

Adding to the excitement is the timing of a solar eclipse, expected to coincide with the cicada emergence. For Reall, this convergence offers a unique opportunity for the public to witness nature’s marvels and scientific phenomena in tandem.

But this isn’t your run-of-the-mill cicada emergence. While some broods surface annually, the simultaneous emergence of these two cyclical cohorts is a rare event, explains David Althoff of Syracuse University.

A celestial rarity

Brood XIX emerges every 13 years, while Brood XIII follows a 17-year cycle. The last time they emerged together was in 1803, during Thomas Jefferson’s presidency, and they aren’t expected to synchronize again for another 221 years.

According to Keith Clay of Tulane University, this double emergence is akin to a celestial rarity like Halley’s Comet.

As America braces for this entomologic extravaganza, it’s not just a cicada invasion—it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that promises to captivate and awe.

Cover Photo: Depositphotos

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