We're reaching into the archives for today's #BenInNature post!

We're reaching into the archives for today's #BenInNature post!

We're reaching into the archives for today's #BenInNature post! The following post was originally published April 5, 2020.

We've all seen (and certainly heard) adult cicadas, and we routinely see their empty shells on trees, but unless you do a lot of digging in the garden, you're not quite as likely to encounter a cicada nymph. Broadly speaking, we have two different flavors of cicada here in southwest Virginia: Periodic cicadas, which emerge in massive broods every 13 to 17 years, and annual cicadas, which appear in smaller numbers every year. Even annual cicadas are not always truly "annual," though; the annual species live underground as nymphs for anywhere from one to nine years, but they emerge at a staggered rate, which is why you hear cicadas every summer. It's believed that periodic cicadas emerge in such massive numbers at such odd times in order to reduce the chances that they'll be eaten by predators. Since they're not reliably available, it's hard for any species to evolve to only eat periodical cicadas. Additionally, since they emerge in such enormous numbers, every critter that wants to eat some cicadas can eat their fill and there will be plenty left over to continue the species. According to cicadamania.com (an excellent website that I heartily recommend) periodical cicada brood IX will be emerging in Martinsville, Henry County and Patrick County (among other nearby localities) this summer! I am unreasonably excited about this, and you should be too. Cicadas are pretty neat!

ABOUT #BenInNature
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends.

If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!

map of Virginia and surrounding areas

Please Visit Us Soon


Tuesday - Saturday: 10am - 4pm
Sunday - Monday: Closed


$10 for ages 18-59
$5 for ages 3-17, seniors 60+, and college students
FREE for children under 3, museum members, and members of ASTC participating institutions

My 4 year old son loves going to the museum. The exhibits are educational, interactive and kid-friendly.

Beth Deathrage

Hear More  arrow