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Cicada Data - "Family Reunion"

Cartoon of cicada waking up
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Cicada Data - "Family Reunion"

Credit: National Science Foundation

Audio Transcript:

And now a bit of Cicada Data...from the National Science Foundation.

Announcer: Think you've got family you rarely get to see? The 17-year cicada emerges together with its 13-year cicada cousin just once every 221 years. Why'd nature set it up that way? Likely to prevent them from crossbreeding and altering their life cycles during evolution. But what would happen if they did crossbreed? University of Connecticut biologist Chris Simon is performing long-term mating experiments, under a National Science Foundation grant.

Simon: We've mated thirteen and seventeen year cicadas and we've got them growing in an area where they don't overlap with other cicadas. We want to see what their life cycle is and what their offspring's life cycle will be. When they hybridize do they form 12 or 13 or 14 or 15 year cicadas, or are they just going to be 13 or 17? And we suspect they'll be just 13 or 17.

Announcer: We'll have to get back to you with the final results. But for now, that's Cicada Data.

I'm Emile de Azavedo.

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