It's cicada season - hear them roar

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[quote=“boingboing, post:1, topic:65007”]Shortly its head splits open and an entirely different figure emerges, large and winged.[/quote]Needs the GIF.
EDIT: Gif not working? Weird.

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"For some time after the Cicada-grub’s first appearance
above-ground he wanders about the neighbourhood,
looking for a suitable spot in which to cast off his skin — a
tiny bush, a tuft of thyme, a blade of grass, or the twig of
a shrub. When he finds it he climbs up, and clings to
it firmly with the claws of his fore-feet. His fore-legs
stiffen into an immovable grip.

Then his outer skin begins to split along the middle
of the back, showing the pale-green Cicada within.
Presently the head is free ; then the sucker and front legs
appear, and finally the hind-legs and the rumpled wings.
The whole insect is free now, except the extreme tip of
his body.

He next performs a wonderful gymnastic feat. High
in the air as he is, fixed to his old skin at one point
only, he turns himself over till his head is hanging
downwards. His crumpled wings straighten out, un-
furl, and spread themselves. Then with an almost in-
visible movement he draws himself up again by sheer
strength, and hooks his fore-legs on to his empty skin.
This movement has released the tip of his body from its
sheath. The whole operation has taken about half an

For a time the freed Cicada does not feel very strong.
He must bathe in air and sunshine before strength and
colour come to his frail body. Hanging to his cast skin
by his fore-claws only, he sways at the least breath of
air, still feeble and still green. But at last the brown
tinge appears, and is soon general. Supposing him to
have taken possession of the twig at nine o’clock in the
morning, the Cicada flies away at half-past twelve, leav-
ing his cast skin behind him. Sometimes it hangs from
the twigs for months. " Fabre’s Book of Insects,
Jean-Henri Fabre, from English edition 1921. French original, 1879.


the Cicada

Capital-c cicada sounds like a wrestler’s name.

So are their songs used to attract mates, or do they just do it to punctuate awkward moments in Anime?


Magicicada brood X, represent! We get brood II, also, so we’re on more than one 17-year cycle. And crickets, and katydids… it gets loud around here in late summer.

Yes. The males sing to attract females.


I always think of Gary Larson when I hear cicadas:


the sound they make, a lovely rising and falling sibilant rasping through the air, has long held for me the pure distilled essence of what high summer is in texas. a sound to fill the background of any dream of childhood freedom.


There’s large park in the city I live where hoards of cicadas hatch. One recent end of summer (February where I live) we must have stumbled upon the cicadas the day after many hatched in the night. There were thousands of brown empty cicada skins stuck to the bottoms of trees and poles and anything touching the ground. There were also hundreds of cicadas sitting around. We eventually worked out that these were the dud ones; the ones that couldn’t fly, although they looked indistinguishable to healthy cicadas for the most part. They sat around waiting for birds to eat them, and there were plenty dead on the grass as well. The noise was deafening. It was joyful.


As kids we used to chase them around bushland. We had this odd knowledge of their colours, with names to match… damn, childhood wildlife folklore lost. I can’t remember the names. I wonder if kids in Newcastle NSW still do that?

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I always associate the sounds they sometimes make with the old B&W SciFi Movies like THEM.


And here’s this: if you drive along a highway with woods full of cicada along the side of it, you can sometimes hear them IN SYNC with each other as you drive for miles down the road. It’s a loud pulsing sound!

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i’ve been digging all the cicada buzzing this year in baltimore. nothing like that brood 10 or 11 years ago, though… that was epic.


Usually I just see the empty shells, but this summer I sat and watched one on the step of my porch slowly emerge. It was fascinating.

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Yeah, 2004, 2 years after I moved up here (clarification: P.G. Co.). I thought I remembered something about a dog or cat holding a live one in its mouth, and when the insect started buzzing in distress, the animal didn’t drop it – instead making harmonica-like sounds as the thing rattled around in its jaws.

In Texas we had a big brood in '87, but I’m not sure it was the same 17-year group.

I’m in B’more with you, and at the beginning of the summer I spent half the time digging out my garden beds by apologizing to the cicadas that I dug up in the process.

We need to form an east coast BB counterculture or something. We can probably recruit the Chicagoans before the Left Coasters think of it.


Prolly shouldn’t have the meetings in B’more though :cry:

Baltimore has surpassed New York City in homicides [Baltimore Sun]

yay 2015, I guess.

He beats his wings, then his girlfriend.

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