Interview with a Cicada (Expert)

Chris Simon has been studying cicadas for nearly four decades. While traveling through North Carolina to study this year's emergence of the 17-year cicadas, she stopped by the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences to give a presentation and sit down for a conversation with our resident science comedian Brian Malow. In this 20-minute interview Brian learns how cicadas make their distinctive sound, how we define a species, and how periodical cicadas — which are unique to the United States — use a fascinating strategy for survival. They also discuss how Chris and her colleagues are using citizen science and social media to assist in their work.

Find out more about cicadas and how you can participate in the Magicicada Mapping Project at

Chris Simon is a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut. This interview was recorded Thursday, May 23, 2013, at the Museum's Nature Research Center.

A big thank you to entomologist and insect photographer Alex Wild for letting us use his cicada photos! Be amazed at his images here:

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