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Blue-eyed cicada, found by suburban student, now at the Field Museum

Uncommon blue-eyed cicada now at the Field Museum
Uncommon blue-eyed cicada now at the Field Museum 02:44

CHICAGO (CBS) — Experts are calling this a one-in-a-million opportunity.

Extremely-rare blue-eyed cicada was found in Wheaton.

Now, it will be on display at the Field Museum as part of its rare collections, and the local family that discovered it talks about their fantastic find.

"This is actually a once in a many lifetime because it only happens once every 221 years."

Jim Louderman of the Field Museum is talking about the rare blue-eyed cicada.

"The last time both the 17 and 13-year cicadas emerged or merged at the same time was 221 years ago, and Benjamin Franklin was still around."

Louderman is a collections assistant at the Field Museum. He said the blue-eyed cicadas are a genetic mutation that rarely happens.

"The lowest estimates are less than once in every 200,000 and there are others estimated that could be anywhere between one in a million to one in hundreds of millions," Louderman said. 

Four-year-old Jack Bailey found the blue-eyed cicada in his family's yard in Wheaton.

"I was so mad at first when he released it. I was like screaming," said sister Caroline Bailey. 

But later that evening, his twin sisters, Caroline and Addison Bailey, were able to find it again.

"Me and her, we went outside with a flashlight because it was pitch black. Then we went to the spot where she said she let it go, and then we found it again," said Addison Bailey.

"Can you imagine how rare it is to find it once but then to find it again," said Louderman.

The family dropped off the rare cicada at the Field Museum, where they'll do DNA studies.

"We're hoping to learn what gene causes the eye to be blue," Louderman said.

The museum also hosts a cicada-pinning class on Wednesday, May 29th, at 7 p.m.

"If you're scared of cicadas, don't be. They don't bite. They don't do nothing," said Addison Bailey.

The museum said it may extend the pinning classes if there's a large turnout.

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