Subject: Strange, Large, Winged Bug
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
July 27, 2013 1:07 pm
We spotted this interesting bug on our large ash tree today. We also found two old exoskeleton skins on the tree. This bugs wings are still crinkled so we suspect it recently shed it’s skin. It seems to have a strange pocket of aqua coloured liquid within one wing, not sure what that’s about. The bug is large, measuring about 1.5 inches (see ruler in the photo). Anyhow, I’ve never seen anything like this in my life and am very curious to know what it is. I’ll let the photos do the talking.
Signature: Nat + Kris
Dear Nat + Chris,
Your photos are related as you suspected. The insect is a newly metamorphosed Annual Cicada, sometimes called a Dogday Harvestfly, and the exoskeleton is the exuvia or cast off skin left after the nymph metamorphosed into a winged adult. Cicada nymphs live underground for several years taking nourishment from the roots of trees and shrubs. Adult Cicadas create quite a din when they call to mates from the treetops. The Cicada call is a nostalgic summer sound for our editorial staff who now resides in Los Angeles. The pocket of aqua liquid does not look normal. Perhaps a wing vein was damaged, releasing fluids.
Thanks so much for the quick reply! We have often heard cicadas but never knew what they looked like. Cool!