Thursday, August 2, 2012

While On My Way to Feed the Chickens

I spotted something on the wall of the house.
A cicada was emerging from its nymphal shell.
I was so excited to get to finally see this happen.  
As a little girl, I'd grab the shells off trees and stick them to my shirt, in my hair, and wherever else I could get them to stick.  
I knew what the adult insect looked like, but always wondered what it looked like as it was "hatching".
Now I know.
I don't know how long it took to get the stage you see in the first picture, but this series of pictures was taken over a 45 minute period.

All six legs are still trapped 
Front two legs are almost free

Here come the wings with the front legs

Four legs free now, as are the wings

Using gravity to help the process

All six legs are finally out

Slight vibration is used to help pull its abdomen free

Serious looking proboscis.  
It will be used to suck nutritional fluid from tree branches. 
Gravity helps

Wings fully unfurled

Sitting back up to pull out the bottom half
Hanging onto the shell so he won't fall
Almost completely out
Finally free!
Gotta let those wings dry and outer shell harden

This diagram shows how the sound we all know and love (or hate) is made.
The male cicada makes the sound in hopes of finding a mate.
I can't imagine how loud the nighttime would be if both sexes could make the 'song'.

diagram credit: Florida State University

Last picture I was able to get before it flew away.  I tried to take a picture when his wings had dried, but he was tired of my constant picture taking by then.

If you'd like to know more about these cool insects, look here.
Cicadas, Katydids and Crickets typify the summer nights at my house.
Do you have a favorite summer night sound?


  1. Good catch. Way to be there to record the event. I must admit the close-ups look like photos of some spooky alien being. Kinda freaky and evil like something out of a movie. Eeek! Love the green lace wings though.

    1. I thought it looked just like an alien, too!

  2. Neat! I really love the sound of crickets.

    1. I like crickets outdoors. Indoors, not so much.

  3. Can you imagine trying to can your whole body with a camera there getting the whole ordeal? And you can't leave to undress in private as your clothes won't let you. Get capture!!!


  4. I really like their sound too...though it can be deafening! Anyhow, your pics are really really great! Nice job!

  5. WOW that is so amazing! Thank you for sharing those photos with us. I have always wondered what it looked like, now I know.