Cicada Summer

photo by EO_Forever (Photobucket)

We are greeted every day now by the static hum of cicada song, a sure sign we are sliding down the back of summer. The insects have emerged from their underground burrows, crawled out of their chrysalis shells and opened their translucent wings so they can fly, albeit clumsily, to the tops of trees. From these leafy dens, they vibrate their thoraxes to attract a mate so they can procreate and send their little cicada genes into the next generation. The females slice tiny openings in twigs in which to lay their fertilized eggs. When they hatch, the larvae fall to the earth and dig themselves in to the base of the tree to spend the intervening years rummaging around near the roots, without doing any damage to them. When it comes time to rise (depending upon species) they emerge into daylight. If you see holes with no soil excavation around them, a cicada probably emerged from there. Fear not. The poor guys do not bite nor sting. They are 100% defenseless. All they can do at this point is mate and die.

Cicadas are rather large, startling looking insects, with enormous ruby eyes. Their habit of constantly vibrating their bodies can be unnerving. Every once in a while, one will stumble into the building where I work and crawl around the floor in confusion, and people get all nervous. Eventually, someone comes and gets me and I bring my paper cup and a piece of paper and capture the poor thing, then carry it outside to release it into the grove of trees in the back, which is where it was probably trying to go in the first place. Another life saved, including a piece of my own.

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This entry was posted in chrysalis, cicada, fly, larvae, ruby. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Cicada Summer

  1. Tom Burr says:

    Great descriptive essay–full of information! And looking at previous posts, your new Canon is getting a workout–with great results!Tom B.http://www.bioman10.blogspot.com

  2. You sure know alot about Cicada’s and their habits. I’m happy to hear you can save a misdirected cicada once in a while.

  3. Bevson says:

    We used to play with their split outer shells as kids. Most kids today would not even touch them let alone carry them around.

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