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It must still be summer. Do you know how I can tell?

I am still seeing and hearing cicadas!

I was able to get very close to this one, even though it was still alive.

Really, really close.

Can you see its antennae? What about the shiny simple eyes on the top of its head, called ocelli?

I can also see the tymbals, the organs right under the front of the wings that male cicadas use to produce their singing buzz.

Check out this video to see the male cicada tymbals in action:

Are cicadas still singing where you live?

"Bugs" are in the news this month.

First of all, Gregory Vogt stopped by to let us know how the Spiders in Space were doing:

"The spiders made it to orbit Monday morning. The Space Shuttle Endeavour will rendezvous and dock with the International Space Station Wednesday morning. The spiders will be unstowed from Endeavour and transferred to the station Thursday morning. We should have the first pictures available for viewing by the weekend. Check out"

Should be interesting to see how the spiders do in space.

Periodical cicadas are also in the news. There is a large emergence of thirteen year cicadas, Magicicada tredecim, across the southeastern United States right now. They are called thirteen year cicadas because they stay underground as nymphs for thirteen years.

Have you ever seen an adult cicada emerge? Here is a time lapse video that shows the process.

Edit: At the request of readers, I have removed the video because of the noise. You can watch it at Mark Dolies' link.

Video by Mark Dolejs (click the link to see how he made the video).

BugGuide has some good still photographs and more information.

Related posts:
Summer Sounds
Every Seventeen Years at Stop the Ride

Have you ever seen/heard periodical cicadas?


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!