Sneaking into dressing rooms in trees and bushes at night, the invited males prepare for the party by shedding their dirty beige outfits called exoskeletons
Then, they don their ball finery: sapphire blue body suits that cover their bodies and faces, gold framed translucent wings, and brown and mustard- colored leggings. Dressing after the males, the females put on identical dress clothes. The only way to tell them apart is by peeking at their genitals or watching who is carving nest space in tree branches.
Millions of these partiers attend this soiree held in the air, on land, and in trees and bushes in fifteen states in the US, and the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.
When you hear the males using a body organ near their wings to sing, you'll know the ball is warming up in your area.
Reporters who covered the ball seventeen years ago wrote that the songs were so loud people looked to the sky to find the airplane causing the noise. Others thought their neighbor was mowing a lawn.
Like all good hostesses, Mother Nature keeps the drinks flowing, in this case, sap, which imbibers drink through straw-shaped mouths.
The males sing to impress women they want to date, the way other men drive flashy cars or brag about how much money they make. "I sang my best for the woman in the oak tree," Cic said. "If she had looked at me, she would have seen the light in my eyes."
"I'm sorry it didn't work out," said Broo." "I'm not," said Cic. "I sang for a more beautiful gal named Ada," and she flipped her wings to me. "We have a date tonight."
"Great," said Broo.
Cic and Ada dated for two weeks, the maximum time Mother Nature allows, flying, drinking in trees, and staring into each other's big orange eyes, oblivious to everything but each other.
They mated. Using a saw-like body part called an ovipositor, Ada sliced into a tree branch to create a cavity for her first batch of 30 eggs. She would deliver 400 more before she died after a month of life above ground. Cid died a few days later.
Their eggs, called nymphs, will nibble on the tips of tree branches until they fall to the ground. Then, they'll dig into the underground where they'll live for the next seventeen years the same way their parents, Cic and Ada, Brood X Cicadas, did, dreaming of partying, dating, mating, reproducing and dying. All within a month, one brief month.