‘This is a spectacular chorus’: walk into the cicada explosion

‘This is a spectacular chorus’: walk into the cicada explosion

One of the world’s great natural spectacles is under way in the eastern US, stretching from the deep south to upstate New York

At first, the noise pulsing from the drooping elm tree boughs seemed to be coming from the power lines erected nearby. Like a surging electrical current, the sound fizzed to a crescendo on the ears before receding slightly, only to build up again to a loud, vibrating whirr.

It was only on the approach to the tree, as desiccated bodies crunched underfoot and small but sturdy creatures sporting wings and orange eyes suddenly clung on to our calf muscles, that it became apparent what was causing such a huge racket: millions of cicadas had just erupted from the earth.

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