Friday, February 22, 2013

Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Cicadas

Most days I have several ideas in my head of things I want to write about. Today was not one of those days. When that happens, I start going through photos I have taken to see if that sparks any ideas. Well, sure enough, today it did just that. I came upon a photo that I took in Arizona last month. I thought it turned out pretty well and I have just been waiting to use it.

Do you know what that it? It is an empty cicada shell. (Click here to see a whole cicada.) Do you call them shells? Maybe not. I realized that I don't know all that much about cicadas. Our 9 years in New Mexico taught me that they can be very, very noisy...almost deafening sometimes in the summer evenings. That's about all I knew so in order to find a reason to post this photograph, I decided to research cicadas.

Cicadas make their noise by vibrating membranes on their abdomens. They can make different sounds, some for attracting mates or for sounding an alarm. It is the males that make all the racket. (I am still talking about cicadas but I don't blame you for being confused.)

Some species show up every year while others show up only every several years. There are thousands of species of cicadas. When they are hatched, they dig underground burrows and live by sucking plant roots. Isn't that weird? Some stay there for years, emerging as an adult cicada. Sometimes they appear in swarms and can cause plague-like destruction of plants.

I could go on but for but I think now you already know more than you ever wanted to know about Cicadas.

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