Maybe Take a Page From the ‘Hyper-Sexual’ Zombie Cicadas This Spring

Hot Girl Summer walked so that Hyper-Sexual Zombie Cicada Spring could fly.

Maybe Take a Page From the ‘Hyper-Sexual’ Zombie Cicadas This Spring

Cicadas are loud, annoying, and ugly but you can’t call them coy. Nothing says “the warm weather is finally here” like a bunch of male bugs screaming into the abyss in the hopes that it will make a female bug want to have sex with them. And this year we’re extra lucky because trillions of cicadas will be singing for sex this spring. But these aren’t just any cicadas—because some of them will be infected with a fungal STD that turns them into “hyper-sexual” zombie cicadas. Neat!

Two cicada broods are emerging from the ground in the coming weeks, in a “Cicada-geddon” that hasn’t happened since 1803, the year of the Louisiana Purchase. Brood XIX, which emerges every 13 years, will take over Georgia and the Southeast while Brood XIII, which emerges every 17 years, will take over Illinois. Luckily for the cicadas, the fungal STD in question seems more disconcerting than deadly. The pathogen is called Massospora cicadina and, if infected, a white plug will rip open a cicada’s stomach, causing its genitals to fall off. However, then the fungus also produces an amphetamine, which basically turns the cicada into a sex maniac.

“The cicada continues to participate in normal activities, like it would if it was healthy,” Matthew Kasson, an associate professor of Mycology and Forest Pathology at West Virginia University, told CBS News. “It tries to mate, it flies around, it walks on plants. Yet, a third of its body has been replaced by fungus.”

But, Kasson warned, infected cicadas will also exhibit “hyper-sexualized behavior. So, males for example, they’ll continue to try and mate with females—unsuccessfully, because again, their back end is a fungus.” And they won’t be particularly biologically discerning either: “They’ll also pretend to be females to get males to come to them,” Kasson said. “And that doubles the number of cicadas that an infected individual comes in contact with.” He added that the fungus is “sexually transmissible,” which makes it spread “like an STD.” (I’ll admit I’m a little confused about the STD of it all, since their genitals are gone. But I guess if a bug is catching a fungus from movements mimicking sex, their lack of genitals is more of a footnote?)

Now look. I do not support tricking potential partners into sex. But I definitely support hyper-sexual sex stuff between consenting adults. (And I guess cicadas?) So apart from the fungus, STD, and the having your junk fall off, I think we could all take a page from the cicadas this spring and summer. Instead of turning yourself into a zombie via doom-scrolling and rewatching The Office for the 37th time, turn yourself into a zombie from sex. Instead of walking around like a zombie to hit your step count, walk around like a zombie because you’re distracted from all the sex you’ve been having. And instead of sounding like a zombie because you’re screaming about how stressed or tired or fed up with politics you are, sound like a zombie because you’re screaming during sex.

Clearly, I’m trying to put a fun and sexy spin on what honestly sounds like another biblical harbinger of doom. We’re nearing the middle of another fraught election year in which I’ve already started pulling out fistfuls of my hair, there was an earthquake in New York on Friday, and, depending on what side of TikTok you’re on, Monday’s total solar eclipse is either a rare, awe-inspiring astronomical event or another sign that we’re fucked. Plus, I think we’re all collectively suffering from Jojo Siwa nightmares. So I am choosing to take the zombie sex cicadas as a positive sign from the universe, encouraging us to get a little weirder.

Besides, humanity has yet to be infected by a fungus that turns us into sex-crazed zombies, and we should never take that for granted.

Kasson said that while he doesn’t suspect these cicadas will pose a threat to humans or wildlife, he advised that we (and our pets) avoid eating or killing them. (Might be easier for one of those categories than the other…) In any case, as long as you’re following the sex-crazed cicadas lead, you probably won’t even notice their screams over the sound of your own anyway. However, let’s avoid the STD part of these cicadas’ journeys. Make sure you use protection.

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