Monday, June 30, 2008

Another world

This is a summer unlike most.
And certainly unlike any I can remember.

With each day, I think they must be gone—but, again the rhythmical chanting begins.
From high in the trees, or the grasses at my feet—they are everywhere.
Invaders from another world.

Fallen bodies litter the paths I walk.
They stumble, as in a drunken flight, bumping from one spot to the next. Orange wings clattering noisily along.
To leave a generation behind.

I wonder how this place will have changed in the 13 or 17 years before their young emerge from feeding below the earth.
And how large these small branches will have become.

And what the sky must feel like to something that has only known darkness.

Female depositing eggs into branch
(ovipositor behind last pair of legs)

Scarring left on branches

“Mated females excavate a series of Y-shaped egg nests in living twigs and lay up to twenty eggs in each nest . A female may lay as many as 600 eggs. Six to ten weeks or so after oviposition, in midsummer, the eggs hatch and the new first-instar nymphs drop from the trees, burrow underground, locate a suitable rootlet for feeding, and begin their long 13- or 17-year development.”

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Lynne said...

They cut the branch to lay eggs inside the wood? I need to read up on the life cycle. It sounds interesting. (but I'm still glad we don't have them up here in Minnesota!)

NCmountainwoman said...

Very thought-provoking post. I do indeed wonder what the world will be like in another 17 years. Not only for the cicada, but for the rest of us. Let's hope we can finally begin to turn things around before the next brood erupts.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

This is a crazy summer. I am loving the last two days though. It has been cool and comfortable. Almost unheard of this time of year in SW IN.

I haven't even heard a katydid yet this summer. This seems odd to me. We have had lots of lightening bugs the past week or so. Maybe I am just trying to rush the season. However I don't think so.

The cicadas were thick around here the past few years. I haven't seeen any this year. They are interesting with their big bulging eyes and orange wings. Great photos Nina.

nina said...

Lynne, I've added more info about the cicada life-cycle--they're pretty unusual insects!

Old Wom Tigley said...

WOW.. Both Jane and I remember a program on these.. it was a few yearssince it was on and highlighted the life cycle of these bugs. Your pictures show them to be beautiful creatures.. I shouted Jane to 'come see the bugs' and she knew right away what they were and like me said they were beautiful... our 18 year old son said they were butt ugly.. so you can't all the time.

Kevin Heads said...

Excellent post and great pics, My son is an Paleoentomologist If you require any info about Cicada both present and the Past he's your man check out his Blog he will be happy to answer any questions. the link is

RC Helicopter Pilot said...

what a great and amazing pic..dream to see these flies in life.

Anonymous said...

You're giving me flashbacks to the last irruption, when I lived far enough south to have to deal with them. Interesting, but tiresome after the first few thousand. The birds did like them, however - quite a lot.

zhakee said...

Cicadas are amazing creatures, the way they live so long, underground! Your photos are nice. Personally, I encountered a few cicadas this past weekend while out in the mountains. They were singing so loudly and as I walked past a shrub, one flew right past my face, at close range. The air where I walked was filled with very loud cicada noise.

Jerez said...

I remember these chirping creatures, the holes bored into the ground, and how when they come out of the holes and attach to trees, they look like rubber baby dolls, (that plastic color) until they dry out.

Nice shots!

Susan Gets Native said...

Me too, girl. Every time I think they are gone, one starts screeching in a nearby tree.
I'll miss them in a weird way, though. You have to admire the singular drive they have to sing and mate. And then die.

*My girls have started yelling at the trees, "When are you gonna DIE???"*