The Hunterdon County 17-year cicada watch is on!

There are two general types of cicadas we see in Hunterdon – annual cicadas and 17-year cicadas. This year we will see both but will start with the emergence of 17-year cicadas. As the name implies these insects emerge from the ground every 17 years, having spent their entire immature life in the soil. Brood X (pronounced “Brood 10”) will appear at some point this month. Depending on temperature we will likely see them before Memorial Day.

Most cicadas will emerge at night. As you travel the county tell us when and where you saw them.

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From left to right you will see the fully mature larval cicada as it leaves the ground to molt into the adult insect (picture 1). Cicadas emerge from the immature stage (pictures 2-4) gradually but in just a few minutes. The adult insect is fully developed inside; however, its skin is soft (white to translucent in appearance). Through hydrostatic pressure the adult insect breaks through and gradually crawls out of its larval exoskeleton. As it pumps itself up it becomes larger, and the wings spread to its full adult form (pictures 5-7). Very quickly proteins within the body cause the insect to harden and darken, at which point the cicada takes its final form (picture 8). It leaves behind its larval exoskeleton, commonly referred to as a cicada shell (picture 9).

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