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Posted Sat Jun 5 2010: from PhysOrg:
Some Iowa cicadas make unexpected appearance four years ahead of schedule
The 17-year cicadas found in central and southeast Iowa aren't supposed to come out until 2014, but a small percentage are emerging now, four years ahead of schedule. "These cicadas appeared in 1963, 1980, and 1997," said Donald Lewis, professor of entomology at Iowa State University. "They should not have appeared until 2014."... Lewis started getting reports of these early-risers two weeks ago. The insects are found in much of the state from Boone County south to the Missouri border and east to the Mississippi River. Periodical cicadas live underground for 17 years then transform to the adult stage to appear above ground for a brief period. They are known for their mass emergences of tens of thousands per tree. The adults mate, lay eggs and die. The 17-year cycle is by far the longest of any insect in Iowa.... "There's a whole lot of mystery to what the cicada is counting and what happened in (some) winters that made it count it twice," he said. "We do know we've got to enjoy it while we've got it.... "The alarming part is, what has changed so much in our lifetime that the cicadas would change a fundamental part of their lifecycle and make this mistake?" he asks. "Climate change is one possibility."
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'Doc Michael says:
Perhaps time itself has gotten shorter.
On further investigation, this is not quite as fearsome a signal: see this 2008 article -- especially info from cicada expert Gene Kritsky. Much will be learned from how "small" the emergence is this four-years-early cycle, as they seem to be growing.

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