Friday, May 20, 2011

Cicada Macro Friday

It's Periodic Cicada time again. The ones emerging right now in Shakerag are Thirteen-Year Cicadas. The last time we had this particular brood was in 1998. Back then, I was living in Nashville. The cicadas were bordering on plague-levels. Working in a business that had the outside door opening and closing all day allowed us to have enough cicadas inside the store that my female co-worker and I had to remove bugs from each others backs several times a day. Another co-worker spent most of his time sweeping cicadas up off the floor and back outside.
No, I won't soon forget Brood XIX Periodic Cicadas.
These particular Thirteen-Year Cicadas are also known as
The Great Southern Brood.

Perhaps they won't be that abundant here this year.

The females lay eggs in the bark of trees. The hatchlings bury themselves about a foot deep into the soil. Then they wait. Thirteen long years, they wait. Then when the soil reaches 64 degrees Fahrenheit, the Cicada nymph emerges from the ground.

This is what the holes look like.

Above is a cicada nymph before its molt into adulthood.

Above is a cicada in the process of transforming from nymph to adult. I think this individual has a deformity of his wings. I'll see if he is still there tomorrow.
Pale yellow is their color when they first emerge.
They darken during the first hour of adulthood.

Adult cicadas dry out and their exoskeletons harden
over the first week of adult life.

Here is an adult. The red eyes are striking.

Here are some more adults:

Cicadas are very tasty to birds, reptiles, and other animals.
Their only defense is sheer numbers.
They do not bite or sting.

As soon as their exoskeletons harden, the race is on to mate.
Their above-ground lives are only about six weeks.

He's a mere shell of his former self. Oh wait, this just his molted skin.

Before long the "singing" of cicadas attempting to find a mate will begin. This is the same song the annual cicadas will be singing in the late summer.
Guess you have to be a cicada to find it appealing.
I just think of it as summer noise.

As always, you can click on any of the photos for a closer look.

Don't forget to
stop by
blogging from bolivia
to link up your own Macro Friday post!



  1. they are such amazing creatures. prehistoric and fascinating. we get the annual ones here and they get plentiful and noisy enough, thank you! :)

  2. Oh my, that one emerging from his shell made me shiver! Your photos are so clear and crisp and close! Very real! I don't think we have these where I live. I'm glad even though it would be a nice photo op!

  3. Great pictures! I love being able to see details of bugs!

  4. What a great sequence of pictures. Beautifully done.

  5. Oh my gosh, they are everywhere!! And what a mess they are leaving behind. Great shot.

  6. Incredible! I can't believe you caught the actual process of one emerging. Awesome shots, Susan!


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