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NIH Record vertical blue bar column separator 17-Year Itch
Cicadas Return to Campus

Photos by Rich McManus

The arrival of Brood X cicadas on campus, 17 years after their last appearance in 1987, was especially noteworthy in the vicinity of Bldg. 15K and the nearby campus residences, where a relatively new picket fence turned out to be a gathering spot for the buzz-loving little teenagers with their cool red and orange paint jobs.

The memory of their ubiquity, their game and fearless posture, their clumsy flight, and their signature call — almost dial-tone electronic individually, but seamless, hollow and haunting in unison — will have to last us until 2021, when the hatchlings of this year will rise up through the earth, regardless of parking conditions or threat-code color, and sing and play and mate again, for it is what they do and why they are.

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