Tuesday, July 14, 2009

SEE-Cada? Cicada Emergence

We'll let the pictures do the talking ... mostly ... I will be back at the end of the sequence.

The photo below demonstrates the high tech devices required for cicada emergence photography.

That's right, you're gonna have to go out and get a stick and something to hold it up.
I know, I know ... who can afford photographic accessories like this? If you want the photos, you will find a way.
The good news is, the bowl of fruit is completely unnecessary for good cicada emergence photographs.
It's summer and the cicadas are emerging, mostly at dusk it seems, so if you keep your eyes open, you might notice one of these little bumbling nymphs. This one scuttled out from under the lawnmower when I went to roll it into the barn last night.
All I did to get these photos was:
  1. Scoop up the cicada nymph.
  2. Grab a stick on the way into the house.
  3. Prop the stick up in a vase.
  4. Put the cicada on the stick.
  5. Eat 3 bowls of Emma's white bean chicken chili while the cicada did what it MUST do.
  6. Pause in chili eating to take photos every once in a while.

See? I told you it was a difficult high tech photographic project.


Caroline said...

My daughter's Minnesota farmer brother-in-law says that as soon as cicadas start to sing, count forward 6 weeks and that will be the first frost date. Very reliable, says he with a grin.
Hopefully same weather lore doesn't hold in at PFHQ!
Neat pictures, never thought of emergence as a side dish for chili. :o)

amarkonmywall said...

Photographic genius, pure (Florida) and simple. Great sequence and beautiful new wings.

Anonymous said...

FC- Oh my..you have really gone high tech on us! Before Thunder gets, these also placed on a skewer and deep fried are very tasty!

Sayre said...

I heard them last night... a virtual cacophany when I slid open the back door! Beautiful.

My son loved your series of photographs. Says he might get into some high tech photography himself if provided the chili.

Lynn said...

Those are unbelievable photos. High tech or not, you have a great camera and a still hand to capture such details. Great job and thanks for sharing!!

Wren said...

I'm confident I can find stick and camera, not sure about Emma's chili.

Sharon said...

Now THAT is cool

Native Mom said...

I am not ashamed to admit, I don't like Cicadas. Give me crickets and frogs any ole' time.

Thunder Dave said...

Aw man, Lightnin beat me to the punch! I thought the scorpions tasted better though! ;-)

I had one of those things hatch out of my Madagasgar Dragon Tree once. I used to keep it outside when the weather was nice and I guess one of those frisky little noise makers laid eggs in it.

Dani said...

Those are the coolest pics! You ROCK!

Sandcastle Momma said...

Those are great shots! I see their shells often but I've never seen one in the actual process of emerging. And you had chili? Dinner and a show - a perfect Florida evening.

nfmgirl said...

I'm assuming that this is what I heard a few weeks ago that sounded like someone running a chainsaw outside. I thought, "What the HECK is that!" I didn't think an insect could be so loud! I've found the empty husk of a cicada that emerged, but haven't seen a live one yet. Very cool!

robin andrea said...

That's fantastic, fc. Such a simple set up and a great series of shots.

Pablo said...

I could never hope to match your mad skilz with a camera and cooperative wild critters.

Miz S said...

I love those little critters. The sound they make is the essence of summer for me. Cool photos, as usual.

Kimberlee said...

I agree with Miz S about the "song" of the cicada. It sounds like summer and childhood (the good part).

I'm curious about how you knew the nymph was about to emerge. As others have mentioned, I've seen the remains hanging on trees, but have never seen the live insect before or after. For me, they're like phantoms with their own little opera going on. :)

Floridacracker said...

I think any frost here is a looooong way off!

Pure serendipity. Thanks!

Thunder and Lightnin,
You really have to stop eating bugs. Orkin called. Said you are putting them out of business.

The chili was so good, I did it again ... the chili only... tonight!

Thanks! It was pretty easy actually.

The chili is optional, but it is a pleasant diversion during a fairly slow process.

Neat huh! Those were some great insect photos you had up recently!

Native Mom,
I understand. They are pretty alien looking. That face!

I was thinking of you the whole evening, because of your caterpillar raising efforts. I could just see you doing this with your little one.

LOL! Yes, Dinner and a show!

This one was set free on the porch after it had some time to harden up.

Thanks! Sometimes, simple works!

Just keep shooting. That's what I do.

Miz S,
Do you find that you get so used to it that your brain tunes it out after a while?

Cicada nymphs spend their time underground, and only emerge to complete this process.
So, if you see a live one above ground, you can bet it's going to molt within a few hours.

lisa said...

That was sooo cool, even though I hate bugs!!! But as long as it is on the computer I can deal with it!!

Miz S said...

Alright, I just spent an inordinate amount of time reading about cicadas on-line, thanks to you.

You probably already know that desert cicadas are among the few insects known to be able to cool themselves by sweating.

And that the emergence of large numbers of cicadas at one time (like the 17 year cycle) is a defense against predators known as predator satiation.

And that they are considered a delicacy in many parts of the world. Yum!

I love Wikipedia!

Just the Right Size said...

One of my favorite Far Side cartoons depicts Noah's Ark, floating in the water..all the animals are there...yadda, yadda.. with the words "Tell the cicadas to shuddup!" spray painted on the side!


Floridacracker said...

Glad you liked it ... at a distance! LOL!

Miz S,
I didn't know that desert sweaty bug fact. Thanks for edumacatin' me!

Just Right,
and who can blame them! LOL!

Thunder Dave said...

FC - you mean to tell me you haven't heard the new tag lines from the National Bugs Council? here'a a few that they're trying out:

Bugs, not just for breakfast anymore!

Bugs, it's what's for supper!

Got Bugs?

And my personal favorite:
Bugs, the other white meat!

debbie said...

I find the empty shells around everywhere, but I've never seen one emerge. I'm going to start watching the ground in the late afternoon/early evening and see what I can find. Thanks for capturing the transformation.

Floridacracker said...

Bugs, the other greenish goo.

Go for it! This is really easy to do. The nymph has no choice and will complete the molt.

S N B said...

Great series!

Doug Taron said...

I've always wanted to witness that and never have. The real trick is finding a nymph that's about to emerge. Fun, and good photos, too.