Why Don’t These Cicadas Have Butts?

The fungus Massospora cicadina infects periodical cicadas when they emerge every 13 or 17 years.
Why Are Cicadas So Good At Math? Check out Joe’s video over at It’s Okay To Be Smart!
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Angie Macias’s “Flying Salt Shakers of Death” article, from the Cornell Mushroom Blog:

Massosspora cicadina as a cicaca STD, from University of Maryland College Park Professor Michael Raupp:

An excellent review of all thing periodical cicada, fungal details on page 279:

For more on the fungus and its spores, see this study from Dr. Kimberly Smith’s lab (sorry, it’s behind a paywall), and this one (also behind a paywall) by JoAnn White and Monte Lloyd:

And here are some details about how these insects die:

Host, Animator, Editor
Anna Rothschild

Writer, DP, Sound
Rachel Becker

Many thanks to:

Dr. Chris Simon ( )
Dr. Michael J. Raupp (
Dr. Kimberly G. Smith (

Rag Tag Rag
Music Provided by APM

Images and Video

Cicada photographs and footage
Michael J. Raupp, Professor at University of Maryland College Park

Magicicada young
Wikimedia Commons/Arthur D. Guilani


(used with permission from author)

Squeak Pack/squeak_10

A Magicicada chorus containing M. septendecim, M. cassini, and M. septendecula.
Wikimedia Commons/Audio S4 from Fontaine K, Cooley J, Simon C (2007). “Evidence for Paternal Leakage in Hybrid Periodical Cicadas (Hemiptera: Magicicada spp.)” PLoS ONE.

Produced by WGBH for PBS Digital Studios



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