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Distinguished Author

Bocage-JV-Barbosa-du-1823-1.jpg

José Vicente Barbosa du Bocage
  (1823-1907).

A Portuguese zoologist and politician. He was the curator of Zoology at the Museum of Natural History in Lisbon. His work at the Museum consisted in acquiring, describing and coordinating collections, many of which arrived from the Portuguese colonies in Africa, such as Angola, Mozambique, etc. He published more than 200 taxonomic papers on mammals, birds, and fishes. In the 1880s he became the Minister of the Navy and later the Minister for Foreign Affairs for Portugal. The zoology collection at the Lisbon Museum is called the Bocage Museum in his honor. He was responsible for identifying many new species, which he named according to the naturalist who found them.

Species of the month

Decim Periodical Cicada

Magicicada septendecim

Magicicada septendecim

Some facts on this insect:

Body length: 28-29 mm.

Eggs deposited by the female: 400-600.

Male song: High-pitched call resembling "weeeee-whoa" or "Pharaoh".

Range: Canada and the United States.

Life-span: 17 years.

First described: By Swedish naturalist Carolus Linnaeus in 1758, who originally named it Cicada septendecim.


No insect has more patience than Magicicada septendecim. These cicadas spend 17 years underground, waiting for the proper time. Then, all of a sudden, the mature nymphs emerge synchronously in tremendous numbers. The adults are active for about 4 to 6 weeks, when the males aggregate into chorus centers and attract females for mating. The females puncture the bark of twigs using the blades of a sawlike device at the end of their abdomen and make a pocket in the wood, where they lay their eggs. Hatching occurs six to seven weeks after egg laying. The adults drop dead and the white, antlike nymphs work their way out of the slits and make it to the ground, burrow to about 3 cm beneath the soil surface and stop and await the right time to emerge again. The life cycle is complete, and the cicadas are gone for another 17 years. Magicicada septendecim are devided into broods designated by Roman numerals based on the year they emerge. The numerals I through XVII are assigned to the 17-year broods. For example brood I are called "The Blue Ridge Brood". They last emerged in 1995 and are expected to emerge again in 2012. The periodical cicadas include 7 species: three follow a 17-year cycle and four more species follow a 13-year cycle. They belong to the family Cicadidae which contains about 2,500 species around the world.

See also: Species of previous months

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