With this week’s warmer temperatures (and forecast highs for the weekend are in the 90s), we’ve been spotting an increasing number of 17-year cicadas (and, of course, their abandoned formerly-subterranean carcasses).  Today, they finally got warmed up enough to commence their summer love song.

It is not like the sound of the ordinary cicadas of summer (Tibicen canicularis, for the dog days of August when they appear) which produce a fast-tempo buzzing.  Instead, it is a low-pitched wail that reminds me of the noise that the Enterprise’s weapons made on the old Star Trek television show.  Lock phasers on target, Mr. Sulu.  Fire!  We’ll be under attack all summer.

Like other cicadas, I guess, the 17-year variety (Magicicada septendecim, a name which might have come straight from Harry Potter) seems to produce its song in concert with its siblings.  Collectively, they can be quite loud.  And, strangely, they will periodically stop for a few moments—silent intervals of artistic expression, perhaps; or maybe just resting—before resuming their tune.  Who is their conductor?

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