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Long Term Monitoring and Analysis of Brood X Cicada Activity by Distributed Fiber Optic Sensing Technology

Brood X is the largest of the 15 broods of periodical cicadas, and individuals from this brood emerged across the Eastern United States in spring 2021. Using distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) technology, the activity of Brood X cicadas was monitored in their natural environment in Princeton, NJ. Critical information regarding their acoustic signatures and activity level is collected and analyzed using standard outdoor-grade telecommunication fiber cables. We believe these results have the potential to be a quantitative baseline for regional Brood X activity and pave the way for more detailed monitoring of insect populations to combat global insect decline. We also show that it is possible to transform readily available fiber optic networks into environmental sensors with no additional installation costs. To our knowledge, this is the first reported use case of a distributed fiber optic sensing system for entomological sciences and environmental studies.