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17 years? I wish! We get them EVERY year here in Shanghai. Millions of them making the most ear shattering noise all day and evening long. It never ends. That and there seems to be a huge infestation of dragon flies this summer. Thousands of them everywhere, even very far from water where they normally reside.
I was musing about that myself and concluded that while individual cicadas have a 17 year cycle, the billions that exist on the planet are all on different cycles so we have a fresh crop appearing each year. I'd also wonder whether the 17 year figure is dependent in any way on weather. I could imagine that in warmer climates the cycle would be shorter but that is a guess. But I found this when I did a search on cicadas in California...
Approximately one hundred and fifty-three species of cicadas in seventeen genera have been de- scribed from the United States. Of these, sixty-five species in eight genera are known to occur in California. Since the works of Van h z e e (1915) and Davis (1919, 1920), no extensive keys to any of the genera have been published. This study presents not only a contemporary picture of the taxonomic status of this group but also attempts to further a renewed interest in the study of the family.
Unfortunately, only general information is available on the life histories of the California species of cicadas....Show more →
So not every cicada has a 17 years cycle and there are 153 different species... doubtless some that speak only Chinese...