Periodical Cicadas and the Abundance of Time
Keywords:periodical cicadas, Richard D. Alexander, evolution, John Cooley, temporality, insect song, citizen science
The life cycle of periodical cicadas, like the scientists who have studied them, is characterized by periods of long waiting punctuated with spectacular bouts of activity. In remarkable synchrony, every thirteen or seventeen years—depending on the species and the locatio —billions of nymphs crawl from the ground and embark on a relatively short adult life span of three to four weeks. This paper traces three pulses in the scientific study of periodical cicadas, as researchers sought to determine the geographical range of the broods, the number and biological identity of the species found in each brood, and the relationship between the individual and the swarm. Together these threads of research highlight the historical significance of mass collaboration in the scientific study of these charismatic animals and the surprisingly entangled affective relations between human and insect.
Copyright (c) 2023 Erika Lorraine Milam
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