More About Cicadas: May 26, 2021

Ghost-like, this freshly molted cicada is already starting to develop the pigment that marks full adulthood.

In this Season of the Cicada, an insect-lover such as me has been having a field day photographing these fascinating creatures. According to Timothy J. Gibb of the Purdue University, Department of Entomology, cicadas are the loudest insect in the world. One cicada can be heard for a couple of miles in all directions. Multiply that by millions and you have the eery, shrill sound that announces their presence. To make their calls, cicadas have membranes on their sides that vibrate. These are called tympanic membranes, just like the membranes inside human ears that vibrate in order that we may hear.

Looking like the aftermath of a machine gun battle, these holes how the cicada tunnels its way from underground.

Cicadas emerge from the ground as wingless nymphs. It is only after molting that they have wings. They do not feed. Their sole purpose is to breed. According to our expert from Purdue, the call of the cicada is to say, “We’re here, ladies! Let’s party!” That’s a direct quote.

This is NOT a political statement!

The sheer number of cicadas is staggering. As there can be up to 1.5 million cicadas per acre. That puts their population into the trillions. As cicadas have absolutely no defense mechanisms (they neither bite nor sting) it is because of their gigantic numbers that they survive. These periodical insects emerge in huge numbers every 17 years like clockwork. Cicadas come out every year, but nothing like the numbers of 13- and 17-year cicadas. (Source:

The last time the 17-year cicadas made their appearance, I was living in California where they don’t exist. Here is a list of the 15 states where they can be found: Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. (Source: Enquirer)

Molting Cicadas: May 22, 2021

During the day, we see their dried-out exoskeletons. The later we see them buzzing lazily through the air. The first thing they do when they crawl out of the ground is molt. They find a good spot where they can latch on with no effort and then emerge from their outer casing. It’s an amazing process.

What we see in the morning.
How vulnerable they look- almost comical. I think those yellow structures on the side are their unfolded wings.
Getting there!
Free at last!

Cicada, May 19, 2021

This is the year of the seventeen year cicada. While I’ve been seeing lots of holes in the ground from where they’ve been tunneling themselves out to freedom, save one exoskeleton, I’ve seen no live cicada, until today.

Note that he still has a little bit of dirt on his back and wings from his recent ordeal.
Another angle. Smile!
I came across this exoskeleton the other day. I suspect that they must molt fairly soon after emerging from the ground.