Thursday, July 16, 2009

Giant Cicada Comes A Calling...

The raucous Giant Cicada (Quesada gigas) was featured on the front page of the San Antonio Express-News this week. I had pitched the story idea to Anton Caputo the prior week. The Exp-News first featured the bug in 2007 when it made quite a splash so Anton didn't need a lot of convincing to go at it again.

This year's version created a bit of a letters-to-the-editor buzz. There were a number of insightful comments (as well as frequent references to my website). One writer, identified as "Charlie," reminisced about (non-giant) cicadas of his childhood:

"When I was young I'd lie in bed for hours after lights out, not going to sleep but listening to the sound of the cicada through the open window. ... The raucous cicada sound soon became a soothing rhythm that entwined me and served as background music as my thoughts transported me into other worlds. Eventually the sound of the cicada and the light wafting of night air would combine to overpower me with sleep."

David G. Huffman, Prof. of Biology, Texas State University-San Marcos was prominently featured in both Exp-News cicada articles (as well as articles on the topic from other outlets). He recently posted the following note to the Cicadas of Texas Google groups list:

"I have described many species of worms, and a genus and 15 species have been named after me, but nobody knew who I was till you posted that silly laptop recording of a bug I couldn't find. What a treat!"

Obviously, cicadas touch people deeply, even resonating with some people's souls...


  1. Molly Keck, extension entomologist in Bexar County, had a blog post about these, too.

  2. That is one crazy sounding cicada!

  3. I'm writing a picture book called Over in the Bosque and can't write about NM flora and fauna without mentioning the cicada! Thanks for the info.

  4. Knowing nothing about bugs, can you explain to me my memory (maybe faulty) of seeing/hearing cicadas yearly? How does this work with the 5-10 year life cycle? Are certain cicadas at different phases of the cycle, treating us to a yearly dose of sound?