(Warning: Photos may be too disturbing to some people.)
This is one of those bits of information that people in Japan have been exchanging on the social media since the beginning of summer: "I don't hear cicadas this year".
A typical summer in Japan is hot and humid (except in a few lucky places like Hokkaido), and the air is filled with the "singing" of cicadas.
But this year, people report that cicadas are either extremely quiet or totally silent in large part of Japan. The exception seems to be the Kansai area, but almost everywhere else people say they don't hear cicadas, and it's been a strangely quiet summer.
It is quite possible that it's been like that every year and people have started to pay heightened and nervous attention to the nature around them after the nuclear accident.
But some people have started to post the photos of cicadas they've found this summer. No wonder they don't "sing". Again, it is quite possible that cicadas in Japan have been malformed for a long time and people have just started to notice, and it's nothing to do with radiation.
Picture of a cicada supposedly taken 60 kilometers from Fukushima I Nuke Plant, on July 22:
A cicada 120 kilometers from the plant. The person who took the photo says on her August 15 blogpost that it was on the ground and trying to flap its wings, and died soon:
Cicadas 300 kilometers from the plant. The person who took the photo says in her blog that in normal year about 100 cicadas hatch in her garden between mid July and mid August but this year the hatching peaked out in early August. He/she also says the male to female ratio is very lopsided this year (way more females than males, and only males "sing" to attract females), and he/she's found 8 cicadas so far that were unable to get out of the shells and died before they could hatch. In a normal year, he/she finds only one or two that fail to hatch and die.
He/she suspects these cicadas may have gotten their radioactive nutrition from the roots of the trees that have been absorbing radioactive materials since the nuke accident. Radioactive fallout like radioactive cesium cannot have penetrated deep enough into the ground to affect cicadas directly.
Cicadas spend between 3 to 17 years underground before they hatch and live a brief summer. Some say only a week, others say as long as one month.
There is another possibility why cicadas are quiet, and that's not good either. It is said in the folklore that the summer before a big earthquake hits is very quiet without hardly any cicadas.