While a large portion of the Midwest is dealing with two broods of seasonal Cicadas coming out of hibernation, Michigan has mostly remained pretty quiet in comparison. But, that's not to say, we won't still have our yearly crop of cicadas that take over our tree canopies.

But, there are concerns that a fungus spreading among the seasonal cicadas elsewhere in the Midwest, could spread to Michigan's Cicadas, and turn them into "salt shakers of death."

During their mating season, cicadas consume almost every aspect of their environment, whether it be eating everything in sight, or creating the familiar buzzing sound that will make any normal person go insane. But it's all for their ultimate goal of mating, and creating a next generation.

But a fungus that is making its way through the seasonal broods right now, could put that in danger.

Massospora Cicadina is a seasonal fungus that specifically attacks cicadas. While they are in their larval stage, they become exposed to the spores of the fungus, and it begins to take over parts of their body - specifically, their genitals. Then, when they emerge from their burrowed holes in the ground, the fungus gets to work.

Brood X Cicadas Emerge After 17 Years Underground
Getty Images
loading...

At this point, the cicadas are completely unaware, that instead of genitals, their reproductive parts have been replaced with the fungus. So when the insects climb the trees, and create their familiar buzzing sound, and go through the mating process, instead of shaking their genetic material around, they are now unknowingly, spreading the spores of the fungus.

And actually, it's worse than just "replacing their genitals." The fungus infects the insect, and begins to grow in its abdomen. When it finally spreads to the back half of the insect, it will build up, and cause the back end of the cicada - including its genitals - to completely fall off. In its place is a white, fungal plug that looks similar in size and shape to a gumdrop.

The Cicadas are still alive at this point, and will still go through their typical mating process, thinking they'll be spreading their genetic line, but instead, they're simply spreading the spores of this fungus when they try and buzz... hence... "Saltshaker of Death."

Definitely do NOT want that saltshaker anywhere near my food.

20 Creepy, Crawly Photos of Cicadas Emerging From Ground

Photos captured in a residential area of Park Ridge, Illinois show cicadas and their shells in a pile along streets and trees. The cicadas are part of a rare event that sees two broods emerging at once over parts of Illinois.

Gallery Credit: Rob Carroll

Cicadas Will Pee on You