Cicadas belonging to the genus Magicicada—having lived underground as nymphs for seventeen years—dig their way out of the soil in near synchrony, climb up nearby trees and shed their exoskeletons. As fully fledged adult cicadas, they hecticly seek out mates, lay their eggs and then die. This whole series of events, from emergence to death, takes only a few weeks. Here, a line of molted cicada exoskeletons remain gripped to a tree in Rock Creek Park, Washington, DC.

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The remains of cicada exoskeletons can be seen on nearly every tree, light pole or fence in the area. Here, a group of molted cicada exoskeletons remain gripped to a tree in Rock Creek Park, Washington, DC.

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Once the nymphs have shed their exoskeletons, the adult cicada emerges with withered wings and no energy. Here the cicada will rest as its wings take shape.

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Millions of cicadas flying around haphazardly make for a bountiful nutrition source for most small animals in the area. Birds and squirrels were seen taking particular advantage of the extra food source. Seen here: a sparrow lands on a curb with what remains of a cicada that it had just before picked out of the grass, Washington, DC.

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Once the cicada has mated and laid eggs, they die. This food source is important to larger animals, but even other insects and fungi take advantage of the widely available food source created by the bodies of millions of cicadas that blanket the ground. Seen here: ants are taking advantage of a the remains of a cicada as they chew off small chunks and return them to their colony.

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Spend enough time outside during a cicada emergence and you are bound to come into contact with at least one careening bug on the wing. Here, a mature cicada sits perched on the photographer's hand after having landed on his shirt.

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Cicadas belonging to the genus Magicicada—having lived underground as nymphs for seventeen years—dig their way out of the soil in near synchrony, climb up nearby trees and shed their exoskeletons. As fully fledged adult cicadas, they hecticly seek out mates, lay their eggs and then die. This whole series of events, from emergence to death, takes only a few weeks. Here molted cicada exoskeletons are seen on the undersides of leaves on an oak tree in Rock Creek Park, Washington, DC.

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Once the nymphs have shed their exoskeletons, the adult cicada emerges with withered wings and no energy. Here the cicada will rest as its wings take shape.

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