Although we don’t do research on cicadas at the Gardens, one of our scientists loves them so much he spends his free time studying the fascinating little creatures.
Dr Emery says “I am a plant ecologist with a poorly kept secret – I love cicadas! Indeed, I spend many of my summer hours outside of work time at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan undertaking personal research on our noisy invertebrates. If I count back to the summers spent helping my dad catch cicadas in bushland areas around Sydney, I can safely say I have over 20 years of experience working in cicada research.” You can read more about Dr Emery and his work here.
It can often be tricky to catch a glimpse of invertebrates but there are some ways we can tell that they’re around. One of these ways is by listening for sounds that they make. Fortunately for us, cicadas have noisy calls that we can listen for.
Did you know? Cicadas’ life cycle includes spending up to 7 years underground as nymphs, and their life above ground in summer is as short as a few weeks. Cicadas are the loudest insect in the world, but only the males sing.
Explore the life cycle of cicadas in the video below. Video by Dr Nathan Emery and Alan Kwok