What Do Cicadas Do

Explore the fascinating world of cicadas and their important role in the ecosystem from pollination to predator-prey relationships. Learn more about the impact of cicadas on the environment.


Cicadas are known for their loud buzzing noises and periodic emergence in huge numbers. But what exactly do these insects do? Let’s explore the fascinating world of cicadas and their important role in the ecosystem.

Life Cycle

Cicadas spend most of their lives underground as nymphs, feeding on tree roots. After a long period of 13 or 17 years, depending on the species, they emerge as adults to mate and lay eggs before dying.


Adult cicadas play a crucial role in pollination as they feed on tree sap and nectar. They help in the pollination of plants and trees, contributing to the diversity of flora in their habitat.

Predator-Prey Relationships

Cicadas are an important food source for several animals, including birds, reptiles, and mammals. Their emergence leads to a spike in predator populations, balancing the ecosystem.

Ecological Impact

The feeding habits of cicadas help in nutrient recycling and soil aeration, benefitting the overall health of the ecosystem. Their periodic emergence also triggers changes in the behavior of other species.

Case Study: Brood X

Brood X, one of the largest groups of cicadas, emerges every 17 years in the eastern United States. This event attracts scientists, nature enthusiasts, and researchers who study the impact of cicadas on the environment.

Conservation Efforts

Due to habitat loss and climate change, some species of cicadas are facing threats to their populations. Conservation efforts are underway to protect these insects and preserve their role in the ecosystem.


From pollination to nutrient recycling, cicadas play a vital role in the ecosystem. Understanding their behavior and ecological impact is essential for conservation and biodiversity efforts. Next time you hear the buzzing of cicadas, remember the important work they do.

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