Woman Finds Rare Blue-Eyed Cicada on Walk in Chicago: It's 'One in a Million' (Exclusive)

"My parents are very proud of me," Kelly Simkins tells PEOPLE of her discovery

<p>Kelly Simkins</p> The blue-eyed cicada found by Kelly Simkins

Kelly Simkins

The blue-eyed cicada found by Kelly Simkins

Jeepers Creepers! Where'd ya get those peepers?

That's what many are asking after seeing Kelly Simkins' shot of a rare blue-eyed cicada she found while visiting a natural preserve in the Chicago suburbs.

On May 20, around 7 a.m., Simkins spotted the male insect on the trails of the Orland Grassland nature preserve in Orland Park and was drawn to its blue eyes, as the insect is known for having bright red eyes.

"I just thought it was unique," Simkims tells PEOPLE of her initial reaction. "So I looked it up. I looked up 'blue-eyed cicada,' and it popped up that it was one in a million."

She posted a photo of the insect on Facebook later that morning.

Simkins, who owns Merlin's Rocking Pet Show, says she doesn't walk around the preserve often but was there on Monday looking for cicadas to feed the reptiles in her upcoming show when she spotted the rare bug.

<p>Kelly Simkins</p> The blue-eyed cicada found by Kelly Simkins

Kelly Simkins

The blue-eyed cicada found by Kelly Simkins

She took the blue-eyed cicada home and plans to contact the Field Museum of Natural History to see if they want it for research purposes.

Since posting the blue-eyed cicada on social media, Simpkins' discovery has gotten a whirlwind of media attention and was first reported by NBC. The outlet contacted "cicada expert" Dr. Gene Kritsky, dean of Behavioral and Natural Sciences at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati, who agreed the sighting was "one in a million."

Commenting on the media attention the bug has received, Simkims says, "It's exciting, very exciting. I'm hoping it will be good for my business and science and get people to be more into science, animals, and nature."

Related: Are Cicadas Dangerous to Pets? Expert Advice on Preparing Dogs and Cats for Spring's Cicada Emergence

Simkins has also received excited reactions from those in her life about the bug. "My parents are very proud of me," she says.

"Everyone's very interested in the cicada. People that I thought weren't interested in cicadas, thought they were gross, now they're very interested. They think he's cute."

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Simkins sighting isn't the first time a blue-eyed insect has garnered headlines. Earlier this week, another blue-eyed cicada was spotted in Chicago. According to CBS News, the family that found the bug has since created a "little habitat" for the cicada, and the Field Museum has expressed interest in "obtaining their specimen."

<p>AP Photo/The Journal, Jason Turner</p> A blue-eyed cicada found in 2004

AP Photo/The Journal, Jason Turner

A blue-eyed cicada found in 2004

Related: Billions of Cicadas Are Coming amid Rare Double Brood — See Where the Bugs Will Be This Spring

In March, Kritsky spoke to PEOPLE about how two broods of periodical cicadas –  Brood XIII and Brood XIX – are emerging in Spring 2024. This season marks the first time the two broods have been out together in 221 years. Ahead of the emergence's starts, some called the event a "cicada apocalypse. The professor of biology quelled worries about the overlap area of the two broods.

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"There's been a lot of hype and concern about this overlap zone. I think people are expecting to see double the cicadas, a cicada apocalypse or Armageddon," he said, adding that the overlap zone is actually "a very narrow area. Moreover, it's at the extreme edge of both broods. And at the edges of the broods, that's where the numbers aren't as great."

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