Just out

From the Garden, Life Captured: Every Day Observations, Photo Challenges

 

Dogday Cicada emerging from its exoskeleton

Dogday Cicada emerging from its exoskeleton                                       f/5.0 1/400, ISO 560, 35mm

I spend quite a lot of time photographing in our garden throughout the spring and summer. Let me first say, I have ALWAYS been creeped out by bugs. But if you spend enough time in a vegetable garden, you’re likely to encounter quiet a few.  So, while keeping a safe camera lens distance from them, I like to capture their images and I research what I found.

I  was astonished to catch this moment.  It’s a Dogday cicada just coming out of its nymph shell.  

There are over 190 species of cicadas in the US. In this part of the country, these annual cicadas are 2-2.5 inches long including wings.  They are best known for the chorus of high-pitched calling that fills the evening air in late summer and early fall. Typically you’ll find the empty shells (exoskeletons) clinging to the tree trunks, fence posts and such.  I learned they mostly live a subterranean existence.

It begins when the female lays her eggs in the branch of a tree. When the egg hatches, the creature looks like a small white ant.  It crawls from the branch, drops to the ground and digs in for 5-7 years, tunneling around and feeding on roots.  Then, the mature nymphs emerge from the soil at night, climb on to a suitable structure and hold on.  Eventually, the hard shell splits down the middle of the back and the soft adult emerges.  As its body ages, it’ll turn from this pale green to a muddy brown.

If this one is a male, he’s bound to fly into the treetops and begin calling for his mate. If he’s successful, within three or four weeks his life will be over and the next generation will begin.  Many thanks to Cicada Mania for all info!

It’s my entry for this weeks Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Inner and Outer.

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Mature Dogday Cicada

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