A cicada swarm covering a tree

Periodical cicadas

Large numbers of periodical cicadas emerge from the ground every few years, instead of a few every year like most cicadas. There are three species of 17 year cicadas and four species of 13 year cicadas, the number telling how often they emerge. Both thirteen and seventeen are prime numbers, which makes it difficult for predators to time their own population increases to match what the cicadas are up to. This means there are always more cicadas than the predators can possibly eat!

Scientific name: Magicicada

Rank: Genus

Common names:

  • 13 year cicadas,
  • 17 year cicadas,
  • Seventeen year cicadas,
  • Thirteen year cicadas

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The Periodical cicadas can be found in a number of locations including: North America. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Arthropods
  4. Insects
  5. True bugs
  6. Cicadidae
  7. Periodical cicadas

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