Annual Cicada – Tibicen linnei
Newly emerged, from the exuvium below, this cicada is pumping up its wings. The silvery sheen disappears as the exoskeleton darkens and hardens.
After final molt, cicadas leave behind their chitinous exoskeleton, or exuvium (plural, exuviae). Exquisite in every detail – even the antennae skins are left behind. These (disgusting?) things can be extremely numerous, left clinging to tree trunks, light poles, fire hydrants – maybe your children if they are left unattended. (That’s a joke, son)
The emergence of 17-year periodic cicada, Magicicada sp. brood XIII, in 2007, near Chicago, was a sight (and sound) to behold. Yet there were areas of the Chicago suburbs that had nearly none, others were overwhelmed and the insects crunched underfoot on the sidewalks. The roar at the Morton Arboretum near Lisle was incredible.
Cicadas have the loudest stridulation of any singing insect – measured at over 100 decibels, nearly as loud as a jet plane. Unfortunate indeed are people who do not have youthful memories of summer days and evenings filled with their cheerful and strident singing in the trees. I love these guys, can you tell?