The East Coast is bracing for the largest swarm of cicadas to arrive since Brood X surfaced in 2004. Time to look back at the definitive article on the impressive sexual habits of these periodical insects: “Love Bugs: Cicadas fuck like they haven’t gotten it on in 17 years“—a classic B-feature from the Washington City Paper archives, penned by yours truly. Of course, the best part of the original piece is the accompanying illustrations by the brilliant Emily Flake, which included a hilarious homage to the sexy pottery scene from the movie Ghost. Sadly, those drawings do not appear with the online version of the story today. So I have scanned and posted the dead-tree version here for posterity.
The original layout contained no pulled quotes. But, if it had, here are a few solid contenders:
“The way it works, it’s really pretty sweet, in terms of invertebrate behavior….The males will get together in a treetop. They start singing. You know there’s a party going on. Females show up, start checkin’ out the guys.”—University of Maryland entomologist Mike Raupp
“The first challenge is to find a member of your species….You don’t want to mate with another species. Man, that’s just a waste of your precious eggs and sperm.”—Raupp
“Males are not thought to be picky….Males will indeed court anything: other males, ovipositing females, shed skins, et cetera.”—University of Connecticut entomologist John Cooley
“Since the cicadas walk, fall, and sometimes even fly while copulating, the position they end up in can be quite variable.”—Cooley
And here’s a larger version of the clip: