We found one in the yard this morning; up to a million per acre more in some areas are on the way. If my 'hood gets hit hard, I'll post some video.
For lots of tasty biological tidbits, go to http://www.baltimoresun.com , scroll down to "In Depth," and click on the insect.
Obligatory fish reference -- Gars are probably opportunistic predators, eating what comes their way instead of seeking out a particular food item. This was demonstrated by the observation of 4-14 shortnose gar feeding on dying periodical cicadas drifting along the surface of a Missouri creek in May 1998. The cicadas were part of a mass coemergence of both 13- and 17-year broods, the first time that had occurred since 1777. It was unusual that the gar were eating cicadas-in-all, since gars usually do not feed from the surface. Apparently, the gar were simply taking advantage of an abundant and easily captured food source. What was more unusual, though, was that largest gar in the group defended the best feeding area (usually a pool situated under a tree) against its smaller companions. The largest gar positioned itself perpendicular to any gar that was getting too close and drifted downstream towards it. Usually this was sufficient to frighten the smaller gar off, although a
t times the larger gar resorted to snapping and chasing in order to protect its nutritional bounty. At the end of the cicada die-off the gar stopped defending the feeding territory. This is the first recorded instance of territory defense among gars in either natural or artificial (captive) conditions.
> I'm not sure about the periodic cicadas that are on the east coast right now.
> The green ones Ray is describing that come out in late July and August in the
> Midwest I do know something about. The adults don't have a functional "feeding"
> mouth and live for about 2 weeks. In fact, I think what looks like a "mouth",
> in spite of the siphon thingie (which may be used to collect water, I'm not
> sure), is about as useful and analogous as a nipple on a male human. Nature
> stops needing parts sometimes, but that doesn't mean they're in the way enough
> to get selected out :)
> Prizma-in-aol.com wrote:
> i was up around nashville several several years ago and thousands were out.
> we walked thru a university courtyard and they were swirling upward tornado
> like in a black column maybe 50, 60 feet up. round and round. pretty cool sight.
> the shells were thick covering big tree trunks. interesting exo-skeletons. my
> son claimed one drilled his finger a few years back... but i read the other
> day they cant bite. they do have a viscious looking mouth part that can
> protrude. dont they die pretty quick after molting? if so why would they need
> odd mouth part. looks like a jab sucker.
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