Currently viewing the category: "Cicadas"
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

13 year locust Location: Southern Illinois June 2, 2011 7:34 pm I just matched my locust picture on your site. I had seen these once before years ago near Boston Harbor. I thought they were the 7 year locust as I had never seen them before. This year while visiting The Garden of the gods State Park in Southern Illinois; we heard a strange noise when we got out of the car. We had been there several times before and never heard this sound in the woods. Then I saw the red eeyed locust and thought ”Ah-Ha!!” I was curious as to what kind it really was so I checked your site to find locusts. Sure enough… some one else further south had seen them too. Thanks for helping me know what kind it is. Signature: Janet Fox

13 Year Cicada

Hi Janet, Thanks so much for sending your excellent photo of a 13 Year Cicada from the Great Southern Brood, AKA Brood XIX.  Your letter sounded like you did not see great numbers, which is alarming.  Perhaps habitat destruction and human intervention have reduced their numbers.  As long as people consider the appearance of the mating swarms of Periodical Cicadas to be a plague, then the demise of the species is imminent.  Though they are commonly called “locusts”, the Periodical Cicadas are true Cicadas.

Ed. Note: Though Brood XIX seems to be emerging throughout its range, we have not received reports of great numbers of Cicadas.  Is habitat destruction combined with Unnecessary Carnage beginning to contribute to a decline in the number of individuals?

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Location: Green Bay, Wisconsin
May 28, 2011 9:40 pm
Hello! I was digging a garden, and about 8 inches underground I found this guy. He is about the size of a nickel (U.S.). I have been searching to try to figure out what he is, but no luck yet!! Thank you!!
Signature: Stacy

Cicada Nymph

Oh yeah, some more info on the bug that I found. He seems to lay on his back a lot. When we took him out, it seemed like he didn’t know how to walk. After about half an hour, he slowly started to walk backwards. He has underdeveloped wings, and his eyes have tiny, tiny black spots in them–like pupils (sometimes I feel like he’s looking at me). Right now he is laying on his back, using his legs to move around the jar. There was no other insects around the spot where I dug him up, or eggs or anything of the sort. He was just there all alone. I hope some of this helps!! Thank you again!!!
Stacy Belanger

Cicada Nymph

Hi Stacy,
This is an immature Cicada.  Cicada Nymphs live underground and feed off of fluids in plant roots.  They are clumsy above ground.  Upon nearing completion of their lengthy underground existence, they burrow to the surface and metamorphose into winged adults.  We often get photos of the shed skins or exuvia, but we rarely get photos of living nymphs that have been unearthed.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination