Cicada Secrets

Researchers believe that understanding the mechanics and makeup of cicada wings could lead to scientific breakthroughs in the creation of medical instruments and in the fight against dangerous pathogens.

NGSS Performance Expectation: None.

Discussion Questions

  1. Where are periodical cicadas found, and how long are their two possible life cycles?
  2. Why do male cicadas sing?
  3. What happens to yeast cells that settle on the wings of some cicadas?
  4. Why might dental researchers be interested in the mechanics and makeup of cicada wings?

Additional Links

  • Cicada Mania: the Entomologists’ “Super Bowl" — PBS NewsHour
  • Insect Wings Shed Bacteria to Pieces — Nature: International Weekly Journal of Science
  • Learning Anti-Microbial Physics from Cicada —


UNC-TV Media

Correlated to the Following Standards