Monday, October 12, 2009

Song of the Cicada


The cast nymphal skeleton of a cicada clasped tightly to a branch of silkgrass (Pityopsis graminifolia). After four years underground and four molts, this was the last nymphal instar of the cicada. From this molt they emerge the winged adults that fill the summer nights with song.

If you are originally from up ‘north a ways’ you may remember the cicadas of your childhood summers varying from year to year. Northeastern populations of some cicada species are periodical and may appear in mass numbers in 13 to 17 year cycles. In Florida, populations of adults are produced every year.

Cicadas nymphs and adults both feed on plant fluids but neither is considered a serious pest in Florida. On the the other hand, adult cicada are considered good eating by numerous wildlife and are considered a notable survival food for humans as well. Hmmmm.

A nice time lapse video of a cicada molting from last instar to adult

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