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Field Museum obtains rare blue-eyed cicada; scientists will try to solve color mystery

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The rare blue-eyed cicada found this week in suburban Chicago has found a venerable home: The Field Museum.

The Field Museum's scientists will try to sequence its DNA to potentially learn more about the genes responsible for its blue eyes.  

This specimen, a female Magicicada cassini, is the first blue-eyed cicada ever added to the Field Museum's collections of cicadas dating back more than a century, the museum said.

"I have been in Chicago for five periodical Cicada emergences of our BroodXIII, and this is the first blue-eyed cicada I have seen," said Jim Louderman, a collections assistant at the Field Museum. 

Greta Bailey and her son, Jack, with Jim Louderman of the Field Museum staff.  Field Museum

"I have also seen two emergences of Brood X in Indiana and two emergences of Brood XIX in Central Illinois. These rare insect emergences are always infertile and can not have offspring, which is why they remain so rare." 

The cicada has since died as they have very short life spans.

For now, the cicada will be on display at the museum's Science Hub during cicada-themed Meet a Scientist events, which will be held weekly through the end of June. It will then be added to the museum's behind-the-scenes collections. 

The rare blue-eyed cicada is going into the Field Museum. 

Locating the blue-eyed bugger was a family endeavor. Four-year-old Jack Bailey first dropped her into his bucket of bugs. His older sister, Caroline, looked inside and noticed something strange -- amid a pile of normal red-eyed cicadas was one with blue. 

First, the family put the bug back, not realizing what they had. 

Luckily for the Field and bug fans everywhere, Caroline and her twin sister Addison returned to the yard later that night and found it again. 

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