Suckers One And All

Every 17 years

What would Seastedt (trs) do? Start a CED xylem suckers life list! This year, the 17th, an occasional, well-known xylem sucker paid us a visitation in numbers. The cicada, Magicicada septendecim is here for the resurrection of the suckers life-list.

The common mistletoe should make the list. It must out-suck its host tree. It would be great to find a redwood xylem-sucker (~ 00 feet tall). That would take some kind of pull!

Also on the list so far are spittle bugs (Cercopidae), treehoppers (Membracoidea), and a sharpshooter leafhopper (Cicadellide). From time to time we can make natural history notes. For example, trs noted the big head to attach large cibarial pumping muscles and valves to extract the fluids from the xylem. A big head to hold the sucking muscles is essential.

Re cicada: a ~80 year natural history geek-colleague of mine brought in a cicada-sized mud casing. Do they make such living quarters for their long winter(s) night?

The East and Midwest are now enjoying what is called Brood II. There are several broods out there. All the broods are out of phase with each other. Brood II +17 years is said to be a whopper on the way!

How do they gain entry? It takes a female. She selects a woody twig about ¼ inch and splits it and lays an egg and moves about an inch along the twig and lays another egg. Re: damage to trees? Not worth the insecticide. No harm, no foul! It looks like the grub (big-headed larvae) does the sucking (for all 17 years).

Cicada hysteria has gripped the Nation's news media! Surprise. Surprise. Suckers one and all!


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