Currently viewing the category: "Cicadas"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Rainbow Wings
Location: MA
July 3, 2011 6:05 pm
I was wondering what kind of bug the green with rainbow wings was.
Signature: Hollie

Annual Cicada: Exuvia and Imago

Hi Hollie,
You have taken a photo of a newly metamorphosed Annual Cicada in the genus
Tibicen, and to the right is the cast off exuvia or exoskeleton that the subterranean nymph left behind after metamorphosing into a winged adult.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Jumping spider feeding on a cicada
Location: cheney kansas
June 29, 2011 11:52 pm
Was mowing one day and saw a cicada drying it’s wings on a Walnut tree.
I returned a couple hours later to check up on the cicada and found a jumping spider feeding on the cicada.
Signature: Chris Harris

Bold Jumper eats Cicada

Hi Chris,
We are very impressed with both your photograph and what it documents.  We believe the spider is most likely a Bold Jumper,
Phidippus audax, and based on the information on BugGuide, it is a highly variable species, though BugGuide does indicate:  “The majority of audax specimens are black with three white spots.”  There are also some excellent images and information on this Cirrus Image website.  Alas, your photos do not provide a clear dorsal view of the abdomen, so only one white spot is visible.  We have so much room to speculate upon how this Bold Jumper managed to capture a Cicada many times its size.  We wish you hadn’t cropped the photo.  It appears that this might be a newly metamorphosed Cicada.  The Cicada is lighter in color when it first metamorphoses.  Also, insects are much more vulnerable immediately following molting and the metamorphosis process.  The exoskeleton will not have properly hardened immediately after metamorphosis and the Cicada is incapable of flying until after its wings and exoskeleton harden.  That would be the window of opportunity for a proficient hunter like the Bold Jumper to tackle a significantly larger prey than it would normally be able to take.  Thanks for sending us your photos.

Bold Jumper

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Howling at the Moon?
Location: Mount Zion, Illinois
June 24, 2011 9:17 pm
Dear Daniel,
My husband found this spider in the basement, and after he’d finished yelling (screaming), he was kind enough to let me take a few pictures. I’ve been through and your website and my field guides, so here’s my question: Is it a wolf spider (genus Pardosa)? Is it a fishing spider (genus Dolomedes)? If it’s a wolf spider, it’s the largest I’ve ever seen…definitely large enough to howl at the moon with the real wolves. ;-)
She was released outside in the woods.
PS – In response to your editor’s note about Brood XIX on the cicada page, they were quite prevalent here. The sound outside was deafening. When they first started emerging, I walked by a small bush that had at least 30 molting within a square foot. Their emergence and subsequent disappearance was quick but amazing!
Signature: Michelle B

Fishing Spider

Hi Michelle,
This sure looks like a Fishing Spider, probably
Dolomedes tenebrosus, to us.  We are happy you came to your husband’s rescue and that you relocated this harmless, but frightening looking predator.  Thanks so much for your comment on Brood XIX.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Cicada Killer
Location: St. Louis, MO
June 23, 2011 10:52 am
Love the site! Found it several years ago while trying to figure out what ”those crazy centipede millipede silverfish things” were. (House centipedes FTW!) While it hasn’t solved ALL of my irrational fears (crickets!), it has certainly helped.
Anyway, I was going through some old photos and ran across this cicada killer with her dinner. Thought you might enjoy the photo. I found her on the tire of my car in July of 2007 and had never seen one before. I figured out what she was with the help of your site.
Enjoy and thanks for all the hard work on this site!
Signature: Tracie

Cicada Killer preys upon Annual Cicada

Hi Tracie,
Your photo is just a bit early to coincide with the annual appearance of Cicada Killers, but we are very excited that you have sent it to us.  Some years we can get as many as three or five identification requests for Cicada Killers in a day, and they generally arrive in our mailbox during July and August.  We have just posted our first image of a molting Annual Cicada in the genus
Tibicen for the year, and as the food source for the developing Cicada Killer broods are beginning to appear, the predators should soon follow.  We are going to feature your posting and we hope that informing our readers about this amazing Sand Wasp will help to curtail their slaughter.  Often people are unnerved because thought Cicada Killers are solitary wasps, they tend to form nursery nests in colonies.  Male Cicada Killers are perfectly harmless as they cannot sting, are nonetheless quite aggressive about defending territory.  Female Cicada Killers are capable of stinging, be we have never in more than 13 years of writing What’s That Bug? been able to document a verified incident of a person being stung by a Cicada Killer.  The few claims we have received are better explained by blaming other more aggressive wasps like Paper Wasps.

So glad you could use the photo!  I certainly could see how people would be intimidated by such a large wasp.  I was just so impressed by her I had to get some photos, but I certainly kept my distance!  :)  She was actually dragging the cicada up the tire of my car (looks like the photo on the site got rotated) and I ended up walking the couple of blocks home for lunch so I wouldn’t disturb her by driving off.
I do hope this will help people understand and be less afraid of these creatures.  Hey, if I can learn why house centipedes shouldn’t be automatically smushed regardless of how alien they look I believe ANYONE can.  Shoot, I was actually GLAD to see these guys in my new house.  The cave crickets, on the other hand, are not welcome.  I’ll send photos of those along if I ever muster up the courage to not immediately run from the basement when I see one.

Hi again Tracie,
Yes the image was rotated to maximize its size on the website.  Cicada Killers will climb up trees and walls while dragging a Cicada.  They can then glide some distance back to the excavated nest.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Cicada emerges
Location: Roanoke Virginia USA
June 23, 2011 8:50 am
I wanted to share this beautiful emergence of a cicada. I caught it right in the middle of molting. Thanks again for the awesome site!!
Signature: neanderpaul

Cicada Molting

Dear neanderpaul,
Thanks so much for submitting this gorgeous photo.  Many of our readers write in wanting to identify the shed exoskeletons of Cicadas, and it is nice to have your marvelous documentation of the actual molting process.  Your Cicada is one of the Annual Cicadas that appear each year, most likely a member of the genus


Cicada Molting

Thanks so much for responding! It is VERY rewarding to get a complementary response especially when I know how busy you are and how many emails you must get. We do have these every year. The cicada killers make quite a living here! lol! I submitted a pic in ’07 of a wheel bug that still appears on your site. I really hope you post this cicada pic. It is so cool to have a pic featured on such a cool site! Thanks again so much for your site and for responding!
Best wishes,
Paul Mays
aka neanderpaul

Update:  August 29, 2011
My Cicada pic made it onto the local CBS news! Thanks for publishing it as that is how the reporter found it!
I now have some pics of a beautiful Garden spider. So huge and intimidating. He has a cicada all wrapped up for later. :)
And could “crop 1 Garden Spider 011″ be her mate? He was WAY smaller but I know males often are. He was in the same web.
Best wishes!
Paul Mays
aka neanderpaul

Golden Orbweaver eats Cicada

Hi Paul,
Thanks for the update and the great news about your previous photo.  We will be creating a new posting for your Golden Orbweaver images.


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Thanks to John at Alberini’s Restaurant in Niles Ohio, we have decided that The Curious World of Bugs children’s version needs to have full page or even double truck illustrations that may be colored to approximate the coloration and markings of the actual insects in much the same way that Maria Sibylla Merian’s Caterpillar Books were all hand colored.  Daniel is pitching the idea to his editor Maria Gagliano at Penguin/Perigee.  The coloring book will include 18 pages of identical illustrations of a Cicada with a brief paragraph on each of the 18 Australian Cicadas with names like Yellow Monday, Blue Moon, Green Grocer, Chocolate Soldier and Double Drummer.  See pages 22-25 in The Curious World of Bugs.  Young readers may with adult supervision if necessary, locate images online of the various Cicadas so they might have an original to replicate, or they may just choose to be more creative with the interpretation of the name.  How would you color the Green Grocer Cicada if you had never seen a photograph of one?

Cicada Drawing

We couldn’t resist demonstrating that we are able to color digitally.  And now, The Green Grocer.

The Green Grocer, an Australian Cicada

Daniel Marlos writes in The Curious World of Bugs:  The Bugman’s Guide to the Mysterious and Remarkable Lives of Things That Crawl:  “Green Grocer, Cylochila australasiae: This highly variable cicada has a different common name for each of its color variations, with green being the most common color morph.  The Green Grocer is a reference to the vegetable venders of yore and might refer to the bright color of the insect, which is similar to the color of lightly blanched greens (as opposed to when they’re overcooked.“  Here is a photo of a Green Grocer from our archives and our Bug of the Month posting from December 2010.

Green Grocer Cicada from Australia. Photo by LC

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination