Sunday, August 13, 2006

Birth of a Cicada

Nature study hit a payoff yesterday, when DS discovered a Cicada coming out of the ground 
getting ready to hatch from his old skin.
Now, this may not seem like a big deal, but when you consider that the things do this only 
infrequently, and that in my DH's entire life living here, he has seen this happen maybe three 
times before, you soon realise that yes, it IS a big deal! 

The first step was to see the nymph coming out of the ground, and climbing to a point where it can shed it's skin.  The nymphs tend to eat roots of trees, and various underground things... there was already an empty skin nearby, so obviously their food source is nearby!

We quickly captured him and placed him in a safe place so we could see him.  He was not obliging enough to change then and there, so we left him overnight, and were greeted with this the next day.

Here you can see the newly hatched Cicada adult, and his discarded skin.

He then proved to be VERY obliging, and posed nicely atop the discarded skin so that I might take pictures from every angle.  These photos are vastly reduced in size, so you cannot see the detail they really captured!

HOW he fit in the old skin I am not sure, but a close look at the pictures of the nymph allow you to see the adult beneath the surface.
About five seconds after this photo, he flew clumsily off to the pawpaw tree for sustenance.  When we saw him still there a few hours later, we shooed him to another tree... lest he defoliate that one (with the pawpaws still in evidence, albeit rather small!)

All we have left now, is the 'dry fly' skin left behind by the growing adult... perhaps a fascinating addition to a nature table :)


Theresa said...

Amazing!What great luck to have stumbled upon him at just the right time! And your photos are STUNNING! Please share what kind of camera you are using!

Krisann said...

How disgustingly delightful!

It was really neat to see but those things are ugly. LoL.

Spinneretta said...

Theresa, I use an Olympus Stylus 6 megapixels, digital camera... and the macro feature! I LOVE the macro feature...

Cajun Cay said...

These are awesome!!!
Thanks for sharing.

Suzanne Temple said...

These are amazing photos!!! Thanks!