Sex-mad and spectacular: 17 incredible facts about cicadas

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Once every 17 years, trillions of cicadas emerge from beneath the ground in the US. They taste like tinned asparagus, are sometimes attracted to power tools – and can number 1.3m an acre

Brood X is upon us. Across the US billions, if not trillions of cicadas have emerged from below the ground, a biblical plague that occurs every 17 years. Gene Kritsky wouldn’t miss it. “This is special,” he says. An entomologist at Mount St Joseph University in Cincinnati, Kritsky has studied periodical cicadas for nearly 40 years. Brood X, the subject of three of his books, holds a particular place in his heart. In the middle of back-to-back interviews during his busiest professional period since 2004 (“It happens, every 17 years”), he found time to share his favourite facts with us.

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