Such a beautiful word for such a, shall we say, not-so-beautiful creature.

The University of Mississippi campus has been littered with molting cicadas this week (but it’s nothing compared to 2011, I’m told). When I mentioned this to a friend’s mom, who was visiting from Colorado, she shook her head. “So many cicadas and not a trout stream to be found.”

She’s right–only one Southern state makes Forbes’ list of the best trout-fishing towns in America, though Andrew Harper also lists Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee as a favorite spot to hook “browns and rainbows as well as the Southern Appalachian brook trout.” According to this friend (and my other friend, the Internet), trout love cicadas. And they’re not the only ones.

Depending on the culture, cicadas have historically symbolized heedlessness, deception, transformation, or reincarnation. And yes, plenty of people eat cicadas–perhaps even in ice cream. That may make some folks shudder, but entomophagy is certainly nothing new. In fact, it is getting more and more attention in cultures that don’t regularly consume insects as a stronger focus on sustainability gains momentum.

If you’ve moved around a bit in your life, there’s a chance your travels have never overlapped with a brood of emerging cicadas. For you, we offer this list of 17 interesting facts about the insect.

My favorite is #14: “Periodical cicadas that emerge in years before they are supposed to emerge are called stragglers.”

Why is that my favorite? Because it comes with this amazing image.


Now about those trout–the good news is, they seem to like the fake cicadas just fine.