Cicadas emerge every year in Illinois, but the emergence of two, separate massive broods like parts of Illinois are experiencing this Spring hasn't been seen since Thomas Jefferson was President in 1803!

If that fact isn't impressive enough for you, maybe this will be; among the regular red-eyed cicadas, a few rare insects with startling blue eyes have emerged, causing a stir among scientists and insect enthusiasts alike.

Why Are Blue-Eyed Cicadas So Rare?

Apparently, finding a blue-eyed cicada is like finding a four-leaf clover – it's incredibly lucky! Scientists estimate the odds of encountering a blue-eyed cicada is a staggering one in a million, but Illinois has been treated to several blue-eyed cicada sightings this spring! (I guess when you consider there's trillion of cicadas to choose from, one-in-a-million odds isn't quite so bad).

One was found at Brookfield Zoo in Chicago...

One was found in Woodridge, Illinois...

This one was found in Orland Park, Illinois...

And a 4-year-old boy from Wheaton, Illinois found one recently, and after they realized how rare this insect was, they decided to donate it to the Field Museum to be preserved and studied.

What Causes a Cicada to Have Blue Eyes?

Scientists say the blue, or sometimes white eyes, seen on very few cicadas are caused by a rare gene mutation, but unfortunately, these blue-eyed cicadas come with a bit of a downer side – they are infertile and cannot reproduce. This is likely because the genetic mutation that causes the blue eyes also disrupts other important genes.

So...if you are lucky enough to find a blue-eyed cicada in your yard soon, hold onto it...and perhaps consider buying a lottery ticket while your luck is still hot!

READ MORE: 3 Important Things to Do When Cicada Brood X Leaves Illinois

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