Skip to content

Here's a bug you don't see much this time of year.

My son dug up this pea-sized grub when trying to fix an irrigation leak.

When it is upside down you can see the beak it uses to feed on tree roots. It is so tiny, that is a bit of acacia flower next to it.

In this view you can see the claws on the front legs that it uses to dig through the soil.

Perhaps next summer it will crawl from the earth, attach to the side of a tree, emerge as an adult, and leave its exoskeleton behind like this one did.

For more information on cicadas:

Another sequence of cicada nymphs

Adult cicada

Cicada wasp with adult cicada photograph from this species

2

A few weeks ago in Summer Sounds 1, we saw the adult cicada.

If you have cicadas around, you may have found some of these.

cicada exoskeleton

It is the dried "skin" or exoskeleton of the cicada nymph. Cicada nymphs spend a year or more underground feeding on tree roots. When they are ready to emerge as adults, they dig out of the ground, crawl up onto a tree or the side of a building, and shed their exoskeleton for the last time.

A few days ago we dug up something really cool in the garden.

cicada nymph

What is this weird grub? It is a live cicada nymph! Check out the white eyes. They were eerie.

It was really clumsy and kept rolling onto its back.

cicada nymph

On its back, it was easier to see the large front legs used for digging, with dark claws. In between the front legs is the tube mouth the cicada uses to suck on tree roots.

You can see those things in the shed exoskeleton as well.

cicada exoskeleton

Note:  if you have one of shells, examine it closely. In the back where the skin has split you can often see tiny white threads. Those are the reminants of the cicadas breathing tubes, called trachae.

After a few photos, the cicada nymph went back into the soil. Hopefully, it will be singing in the trees someday soon.

Edit: A friend posted a link to a cool video of a cicada molting. Thanks Molly!