Prime Numbered Cicadas

2013 Brood II cicadaRight now, the northeastern US is experiencing a plague of cicadas. These are no ordinary cicadas, however – these are “Brood II” of the famous 17-year periodical cicadas (a collection of species under the genus Magicicada). There are 15 distinct living broods, which can also have 13-year periods as well as 17. Brood II is far from the most wide-spread: for 17-year broods that goes to X, while for the 13s it’s XIX.*

Noting this, Brian Thomas writes Cicadas Make Great Mathematicians. Really now? Continue reading