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Mon Jul 15, 2013, 11:51 AM

My kids and I found a cicada on Saturday that was just about to molt. And we took pics!

On Saturday, we happened to see a cicada walking across our patio that had turned a tan/brown color that made me think it might be about to shed it's exoskeleton. We got a well-ventilated plastic container and a piece of lettuce, and he climbed right in. Sure enough, within the hour he had started to molt! It was amazing to watch. My kids love bugs and other creepy-crawlies, and they were fascinated...



















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Reply My kids and I found a cicada on Saturday that was just about to molt. And we took pics! (Original post)
Skinner Jul 2013 OP
sharp_stick Jul 2013 #1
NV Whino Jul 2013 #2
LineLineReply !
Wait Wut Jul 2013 #5
Skinner Jul 2013 #6
SleeplessinSoCal Jul 2013 #23
raccoon Jul 2013 #12
zbdent Jul 2013 #13
Wait Wut Jul 2013 #3
Skinner Jul 2013 #7
narnian60 Jul 2013 #27
Mnemosyne Jul 2013 #30
WCLinolVir Jul 2013 #4
hlthe2b Jul 2013 #8
Kali Jul 2013 #9
libodem Jul 2013 #10
Eleanors38 Jul 2013 #11
DreamGypsy Jul 2013 #14
ZombieHorde Jul 2013 #15
Boudica the Lyoness Jul 2013 #16
handmade34 Jul 2013 #17
jtuck004 Jul 2013 #18
Skinner Jul 2013 #19
jtuck004 Jul 2013 #20
MarianJack Jul 2013 #21
Victor_c3 Jul 2013 #22
Skinner Jul 2013 #24
Victor_c3 Jul 2013 #25
arcane1 Jul 2013 #26
kestrel91316 Jul 2013 #28
Solly Mack Jul 2013 #29
progressoid Jul 2013 #31
Rebl Jul 2013 #33
rhett o rick Jul 2013 #32
mountain grammy Jul 2013 #34
7962 Jul 2013 #40
thefool_wa Jul 2013 #35
Skittles Jul 2013 #36
pacalo Jul 2013 #37
Renew Deal Jul 2013 #38
4_TN_TITANS Jul 2013 #39
7962 Jul 2013 #41

Response to Skinner (Original post)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 11:53 AM

1. Nice Find

I'd love to be able to see that with my kids sometime.

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Response to Skinner (Original post)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 11:54 AM

2. The Attack of the Giant Cicadas

Love those last two photos.

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Response to NV Whino (Reply #2)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 11:55 AM

5. !

I didn't even notice that!

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Response to NV Whino (Reply #2)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 11:56 AM

6. He made a beeline for the fire truck.

And just hung out on the tire for an hour while his wings straightened out. We left to go to a birthday party and when we returned he was gone...

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Response to Skinner (Reply #6)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 02:32 PM

23. A Star is born! I figured you used the toy truck as a prop.

Looks like a candidate for movie role in a fright film.

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Response to NV Whino (Reply #2)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 12:23 PM

12. That threw me at first! then I realized it was a kids toy vehicle. nt

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Response to NV Whino (Reply #2)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 12:32 PM

13. Pacific Rim ...

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Response to Skinner (Original post)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 11:55 AM

3. I'm so weird.

I think they're beautiful. I've never met anyone that agreed.

Great pics and what a cool moment to share with the kids!

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Response to Wait Wut (Reply #3)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 11:57 AM

7. I agree with you.

They are beautiful.

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Response to Skinner (Reply #7)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 03:17 PM

27. Me, too.

And the noise they make does not bother me. As a retired teacher it reminds me of the most relaxing time of the year--summer.

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Response to Wait Wut (Reply #3)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 03:50 PM

30. I agree, very beautiful. But this is from someone that likes the light smell of skunk.

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Response to Skinner (Original post)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 11:55 AM

4. Cool pics. I live in Virginia and have only seen them brown.

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Response to Skinner (Original post)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 11:58 AM

8. Great photos...

they are actually sort of pretty when they've molted...

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Response to Skinner (Original post)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 11:59 AM

9. very cool and great that you are encouraging love of natural history

love the green wings



we have a different kind of cicada out here - they hatch annually. in the yard they crawl a foot or two up a concrete block wall just before daylight and molt. the exoskeleton stays attached to the wall and on some days there may be a couple dozen of them. when we were kids we collected those and called them popcorn (no we didn't eat them, though probably my littlest sister will lie and say we tried to get her to try one)


edit - ha! didn't realize who the OP was until I posted. real observant there, Kali

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Response to Skinner (Original post)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 12:12 PM

10. Most cool

And big as a cat.

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Response to Skinner (Original post)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 12:23 PM

11. Some folks here found a dead "post-molt" cicada and

took several pics of it. They, too, liked its translucent colors, and are on the lookout for more of the insects -- ars gratia artis.

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Response to Skinner (Original post)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 12:55 PM

14. A great educational experience for children (and parents and adults).

Want your children (or you, or your friends) to develop an in science....

...then follow up with say, a visit to Cicada on Wikipedia:

Cicadas (/sɪˈkɑːdə/ or /sɪˈkeɪdə/), alternatively spelled as Cicala, or Cicale, are insects in the order Hemiptera, suborder Auchenorrhyncha (which was formerly included in the now invalid suborder Homoptera). Cicadas are in the superfamily Cicadoidea. Their eyes are prominent, though not especially large, and set wide apart on the anterior lateral corners of the frons. The wings are well-developed, with conspicuous veins; in some species the wing membranes are wholly transparent, whereas in many others the proximal parts of the wings are clouded or opaque and some have no significantly clear areas on their wings at all. About 2,500 species of cicada have been described, and many remain to be described. Cicadas live in temperate-to-tropical climates where they are among the most-widely recognized of all insects, mainly due to their large size and unique sound. Cicadas are often colloquially called locusts, although they are unrelated to true locusts, which are various species of swarming grasshopper. Cicadas are related to leafhoppers and spittlebugs.


Then check out Cicada cousins in Hemiptera:

Hemiptera /hɛˈmɪptərə/ is an order of insects most often known as the true bugs (cf. bug), comprising around 50,000–80,000 species of cicadas, aphids, planthoppers, leafhoppers, shield bugs, and others. They range in size from 1 mm (0.04 in) to around 15 cm (6 in), and share a common arrangement of sucking mouthparts. Sometimes, the name true bugs is applied more narrowly still to insects of the suborder Heteroptera only.

<snip>

Hemipterans are hemimetabolous, meaning that they do not undergo metamorphosis between a larval phase and an adult phase. Instead, their young are called nymphs, and resemble the adults to a large degree, the final transformation involving little more than the development of functional wings (if they are present at all) and functioning sexual organs, with no intervening pupal stage as in holometabolous insects. Hemiptera is the largest insect order that is hemimetabolous; the orders with more species all have a pupal stage (Lepidoptera, Coleoptera, Diptera and Hymenoptera).


Then check into the evolutionary history of insect metamorphosis and wonder why cicadas didn't go down that path or whether they evolved from an ancestor that did metamorphose:

In the 1830s a German naturalist named Renous was arrested in San Fernando, Chile for heresy. His claim? He could turn caterpillars into butterflies. A few years later, Renous recounted his tale to Charles Darwin, who noted it in The Voyage of the Beagle.

Imprisoning someone for asserting what today qualifies as common knowledge might seem extreme, but metamorphosis—the process through which some animals abruptly transform their bodies after birth—has long inspired misunderstanding and mysticism. People have known since at least the time of ancient Egypt that worms and grubs develop into adult insects, but the evolution of insect metamorphosis remains a genuine biological mystery even today. Some scientists have proposed outlandish origin tales, such as Donald Williamson's idea that butterfly metamorphosis resulted from an ancient and accidental mating between two different species—one that wriggled along ground and one that flitted through the air.

Metamorphosis is a truly bizarre process, but an explanation of its evolution does not require such unsubstantiated theories (for a critique of Williamson's hypothesis, see this study). By combining evidence from the fossil record with studies on insect anatomy and development, biologists have established a plausible narrative about the origin of insect metamorphosis, which they continue to revise as new information surfaces. The earliest insects in Earth's history did not metamorphose; they hatched from eggs, essentially as miniature adults. Between 280 million and 300 million years ago, however, some insects began to mature a little differently—they hatched in forms that neither looked nor behaved like their adult versions. This shift proved remarkably beneficial: young and old insects were no longer competing for the same resources. Metamorphosis was so successful that, today, as many as 65 percent of all animal species on the planet are metamorphosing insects.

<big snip>

A new generation

Complete metamorphosis likely evolved out of incomplete metamorphosis. The oldest fossilized insects developed much like modern ametabolous and hemimetabolous insects—their young looked like adults. Fossils dating to 280 million years ago, however, record the emergence of a different developmental process. Around this time, some insects began to hatch from their eggs not as minuscule adults, but as wormlike critters with plump bodies and many tiny legs. In Illinois, for example, paleontologists unearthed a young insect that looks like a cross between a caterpillar and a cricket, with long hairs coating its body. It lived in a tropical environment and likely rummaged through leaf litter for food.


There is so much to learn and a child's brain is very fertile when planted with the seeds of knowledge.

Thanks for the post, Skinner.

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Response to Skinner (Original post)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 01:31 PM

15. That is awesome. nt

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Response to Skinner (Original post)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 01:32 PM

16. Really good pictures.

Too bad his close up was blurred. That would have been a good one. Thanks for sharing.

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Response to Skinner (Original post)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 01:50 PM

17. great photos...

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Response to Skinner (Original post)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 01:55 PM

18. That is amazing, and a great experience for the kids. Smart move.


The pics on the firetruck are great!

There's another pic here, also educational

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/04/130515-cicadas-recipes-food-cooking-bugs-nation-animals/

To be honest, I prefer cheeseburgers..

But even if they don't make it to our dinner table, they may find themselves on another...

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/07/the-cicada-killers-are-coming/277688/

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Response to jtuck004 (Reply #18)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 02:05 PM

19. Mmmm. Yummy.

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Response to Skinner (Reply #19)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 02:08 PM

20. "Ok, kids, remember the little bug you saw on the patio?"

"Now, make sure everyone gets a slice..."

Would that be the last time Dad cooks dinner ?



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Response to Skinner (Original post)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 02:23 PM

21. WOW!

What a cool thing to experience with your kids!

PEACE!

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Response to Skinner (Original post)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 02:28 PM

22. We just went through our once-every-17-year cicada cycle here in NY

I'm so sick of seeing them. I was excited for the first couple of days and my kids were really excited too. Then the shells left behind from their molt started to rot and it just smelled so completely disgusting that I thought I was going to throw up every time I went into our back yard.

I raked up about 3 wheelbarrows full of their shells and dead carcasses from the area around a large maple tree and playhouse that we have in our backyard.

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Response to Victor_c3 (Reply #22)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 02:48 PM

24. This is only the second or third one we saw.

The cicadas didn't live up to the hype here.

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Response to Skinner (Reply #24)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 02:54 PM

25. It was my first experience with the cicadas like this

I was surprised how, even within my area, how much the population density of the cicadas varied. On the opposite side of my town you could hardly tell they were out in bloom.

I have a hunch that it had a lot to do with the types of trees in my yard and neighborhood. My property butts against the backside of a very large section of state land that is filled with maple trees. The large maple tree in my yard was covered with them. However, the walnut tree 30 feet away in my neighbor's yard didn't appear to have a single cicada. I also didn't notice any cicadas on the pine trees in my neighborhood. Anyway, even within an area with a bloom of cicadas it can be very hit or miss.

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Response to Skinner (Original post)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 02:56 PM

26. How CUTE!!!

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Response to Skinner (Original post)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 03:24 PM

28. I love cicadas. They are sort of the insect icon of Provence (southern France), and when

I went on vacation there years ago I brought back a ceramic cicada wall decoration.



Mine is painted with traditional Provence motifs/colors but not like this.

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Response to Skinner (Original post)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 03:37 PM

29. Bug! I love bugs! Some truly nice captures.

Very cool! So, where's your submission for this month's contest? I'll be checking my in-box!


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Response to Skinner (Original post)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 05:08 PM

31. If you collect a bunch of the discarded exoskeletons,

you can pretend you have herd of little space alien buffaloes.


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Response to progressoid (Reply #31)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 09:23 PM

33. Yes they

do remind me of little space aliens or prehistoric creatures. Find the shells on my deck railings every summer.

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Response to Skinner (Original post)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 07:14 PM

32. k&r thanks for posting.

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Response to Skinner (Original post)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 09:25 PM

34. Great pictures, thank you. For just a second I thought the fire truck was real.

Yikes!

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Response to mountain grammy (Reply #34)

Wed Jul 17, 2013, 10:28 AM

40. Boy, we'd be in REAL trouble then!!

That'd be one huge cicada!! (but it did cross my mind too!)

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Response to Skinner (Original post)

Tue Jul 16, 2013, 01:08 AM

35. I live in WA State

A place not known for Cicadas, but the other day I heard one in the woods beside my house.

At first I passed it off as a mistake. Perhaps a cricket or Grasshopper species whose call I was unfamiliar with.

Then as I was walking around the outside of my neighbor's yard (on a path we built to get around the neighborhood) I was hit in the thigh by some large-ish flying bug.

I looked down and....holy fuck...a cicada!!!!

I heard it a couple more times that day, and haven't heard anything since.

Very strange.

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Response to Skinner (Original post)

Tue Jul 16, 2013, 03:55 AM

36. freaking fascinating!!!

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Response to Skinner (Original post)

Tue Jul 16, 2013, 04:02 AM

37. We get those every June in the south. We call them junebugs.

We usually have them for that one month, but this year I've seen very few of them. I call them B-52s because they're so aggressive -- or maybe their eyesight isn't good -- they'll fly very rapidly right into your face.

Interesting to see how they molt. Thanks for sharing the photos!

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Response to Skinner (Original post)

Tue Jul 16, 2013, 11:43 AM

38. They haven't shown up in NY yet

I'm looking forward to it. They usually show up early August.

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Response to Skinner (Original post)

Tue Jul 16, 2013, 12:37 PM

39. I've found the shells all my life

stuck to trees, etc., but have never seen the whole process. He's actually quite pretty.

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Response to Skinner (Original post)

Wed Jul 17, 2013, 10:28 AM

41. Thanks for that effort to get those

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