The winged bug that has timed its appearance with the football tournament has been fondly named 'Niang World Cup' (Niang means insect in Khasi) by the people of Saiden village, around 4km from district headquarters Nongpoh.
The insect announces its arrival in the bushes with a distinctive loud whistling sound, just a month ahead of the FIFA World Cup, the chairman of Ri Bhoi Tourism and Environmental Development Forum (RBTEDF), Plielad Tiewsoh, told PTI.
Originally named niangtaser (Chremistica Ribhoi), the winged bug is a sub-species of the Ciacada family found in South East Asian countries, S R Hajong, the insect expert at the North Eastern Hill University, told PTI.
The female bugs lay eggs in the grooves of bamboo trees. After hatching, the nymphs go underground, feed off the sap from the roots and emerge after four years. The niangtaser undergoes four mutations before growing wings, he said.
The insect shot to fame in 1990s when a group of local youths and elders first invited visitors to the village to witness the beautiful metamorphosis.
This year, too, the local people have organised a festival to celebrate the arrival of the Cicada insect.
Hundreds of visitors are making a beeline to the village to attend the fest, B Lyngdoh, an elderly resident of the village, said.
The insect serves as good fishing bait, he claimed.
The hunt for the bug has already begun in Saiden. The insect is cleaned and stewed and is sold in the festival area at Rs 400 per kilo, Lyngdoh said.
Hajong, however, lamented that the insect may face threats of extermination due to habitat loss and over-exploitation.
"The niangtaser is under threat as the bamboo groves are being replaced by agricultural lands. Moreover, hundreds of people are out every evening collecting the insect for sale," he added.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)