Wednesday, May 17, 2017

17-Year Cicada Emerging

While meditating in the early morning before work, I noticed a strange protrusion from a tree. I stood up to look at it more closely and realized it was a cicada emerging from its shell.

Cicadas begin life as a rice-shaped egg, which the female deposits in a groove she makes in a tree limb, using her ovipositor. Once the egg hatches the cicada begins to feed on the tree fluids. At this point it looks like a termite or small white ant. Eventually, it falls to the ground where it will dig into the earth to feed on the roots of the tree. From there, the cicada tunnel underground from anywhere between 2-17 years. After the long 2 to 17 years, cicadas emerge from the ground as nymphs. Nymphs climb the nearest available tree, and begin to shed their nymph exoskeleton.

In this image, you can see the cicada about halfway out of its exuviae, the remaining nymphal exoskeleton husk. Soon, it will dry is wings in the sun and fly off to find a mate and create more cicada larvae.

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