Tag Archives: cicada exoskeleton

Bush walk snaps

30 Sep

Today I took the kiddos out for a bush walk to see what goodies we could find.  It seemed at first it was all for naught, but then things picked up speed.


Casemoth/bagworm caterpillar and case.

We keep points whenever someone spots something, and CJ came out of the gates strong with the Casemoth caterpillar spotting and then…



this beautiful dragonfly. The kids got an eye.


Tree-running Mantid - Ciulfina sp.

Next up we saw this beautiful Tree-running Mantid. I just love how the colour blends with the tree.



We found this cicada moments after spotting an exoskelton. Which my brave girl put on her shirt like a broach.


Next we found this assassin bug nymph. Such little pieces of artwork.


Assassin bug nymph

Some of you may have no idea what this next thing is, and I didn’t at first, but this is the secret hideaway of the Spittle bug.


Spittle bug hideout

The Spittle bug is in the Family Aphrophorid, in the order Hemiptera. (Think Leafhopper) These nymphs form a little cubby of spittle around themselves to protect from predators and dehydration; it is theorized. I see a lot of these in pine trees.


And lastly, a picture of three happy, bush-walking, insect-hunting kiddos.

My top three-Numero Uno!

5 Sep

So, here is my number one favourite insect ever.  This one won’t come as a shock to anyone that knows me, or maybe to those that follow this blog closely.  Any guesses? Well, I won’t keep you in suspense.

Of course, it’s my beloved cicadas.


I was lucky enough to see lots of these while living in Byfield and even luckier to hold quite a few.  It never got boring to me.  They’re just so big and beautiful and if you get the right one, they don’t mind being held.  Occasionally, I would find a disoriented one stuck in the outdoor sink or inside a bucket and when I rescued them, they’d try to stick their ‘beak’ into my hand.  The beak is actually called the ‘labium’ and is composed of four needle-like structures called stylets.  It’s these stylets they stick into plants and, like a straw, suck up the sap.  It sort of hurts but I was never offended.  I just assumed they were hungry and confused.  I’m sure most people would assume from this that cicadas bite but they’re not a very aggressive sort.  And I can tell you that the only time it ever happened was with the ones who had been trapped and seemed disoriented (i.e. falling over, not attaching to my hand well.)

As you know from a past Reader’s Photo’s post, I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing one come out of the exoskeleton, but I have seen hundreds of the shells scattered on the ground or stuck to the sides of trees.  The chicken coop seemed to be a favourite shedding spot in Byfield.  Remember sticking them on your clothes when you were little?  Here’s Charlie enjoying the tradition.

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If you’d like to read more about cicadas, you can check out THIS post I did.  But in the meantime, check out how brave my kids are holding these cicadas.  Make you feel like a big ‘ole chicken, don’t they?

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And now, here’s me holding one while doing a cool “sunburst behind the shoulder” shot.  Otherwise known as the “hide the wrinkles” shot.


Reader’s Photos-Emerging Cicada

26 Aug

It’s not often that I get jealous over things…well, except for that one time I was about thirty seconds too late to grab the last jam doughnut at the doughnut shop before some guy, who probably ate it in one bite and didn’t even savour it, got it.  Oh, and there was that time when I was eight and a girl named Carter (I know, right?) got the lead part in our tap dance recital.  True story.

But other than those times, I am not a very jealous person by nature.  I’m just nerdy (or is it narcissistic?) enough to think I’ve got a bit going for myself and don’t tend to look over the fence much.  Buuuuuut, a friend of mine posted (very casually, I might add) some photos on Facebook the other day that made me see green!

Look, I’ve lived in the heart of the Byfield Rainforest.  (If you want to know what that is like, visit my post about it HERE.)  I’ve seen everything from a Giant Golden Orb spider as big as my face…


(That may not seem cool to some of you.)

…to katydids and grasshoppers nearly as big as my hand.

katydid grasshopper

And I’ve seen and held many, many, many cicadas and seen ten times as many empty cicada exoskeletons. 

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But, I never once was lucky enough to see this…



These photos were sent in by Kevin Ivey from Avon, Indiana.  That’s right, Indiana.  The place I moved from.  Thousands of cicadas buzzing all around me in the rainforest.  The noise was deafening.  The shells were everywhere. And not once did I ever get so lucky to actually get to see one of them emerging from the case where they had lived (for some) for nearly two decades.  But over in my home state, more known for its corn than anything else, apparently miracles happen.

I’m kidding, of course.  Sort of.

No, really.  How cool, that if I couldn’t get to see this, at least someone I knew was able to enjoy it and get a couple of really good snapshots of to rub in my face send in.

So, there you go.  Cicada emerging…from shell.  In Indiana.  Have I mentioned that yet?