The best known of the North American cicadas (Magicicada septendecim) has a seventeen-year breeding cycle in northern climates, a thirteen-year in southern. Lucy Clausen summarizes the cycle:

The eggs are laid within twigs in slits made by the female, and upon hatching the young nymphs drop to the ground and proceed to bury themselves. During this long period their food consists of the juices that they suck from the roots of trees.  Finally, after sixteen summers below the ground for the "seventeen-year locust," or twelve summers in the ground for the southern variety, they are ready to emerge as adults. As the time of emergence approaches they dig upward by means of enlarged front feet. When they come up out of the ground they fasten themselves to some support and their skins split. Then, as they laboriously pull themselves from their old skins, the soft, creamy-white cicadas with prominent red eyes appear. Within a few hours the air has two effects--it hardens the body-covering and darkens the color to black and gree. The empty pupal skins remain hanging upon trunks of trees or other places in great numbers. (128)