Subject: Strange Beetle(?) with transparent wings
Location: Southeast Michigan
September 12, 2014 8:28 pm
Can you help ID this strange bug I found today, Sept. 12, on my back porch? I found it on its’ back, somewhat tangled in a bit of spider web, and I thought it might be dead. When I picked it up,
however, it moved.
I carefully removed the web, and it began flapping its’ wings but seemed happy to crawl around my
hand. In the 2nd photo you can see exposed what appears to be a proboscis of some kind. Quite an interesting little critter! Thank you!
This is an Annual Cicada in the genus Tibicen, not a beetle, and you are probably quite familiar with the din caused by Cicadas that emanates from the tops of trees in mid to late summer. These Annual Cicadas are also known as Dog Day Harvestflies. For your kindness to this Cicada, we are honoring you with the Bug Humanitarian Award, and we are also tagging this posting as a Buggy Accessory as that Cicada looks quite fetching on your hand.
Thank you for your prompt reply and for the lovely honor! You made my day!
You are welcome Kathy. We should also warn you that we have received one report of a bite from a Cicada. Many years ago, Vince who works at a Nature Center sent in an extensive comment beginning with: “A few years ago, while working in a state park nature center in Indiana, a young (6 years old) entomologist brought his latest aquisition, a cicada, to show me. I picked it up and let it crawl on my thumb. When I was ready to give it back, the thing wouldn’t let go, and decided to press that sucking mouth part into my thumb. It was pretty painful. They can DEFINATELY bite (or perhaps STAB is a more appropriate term).”
You have gone above and beyond with your thoughtful warning! Thank you!
I must share with you that, once you had identified by bug, I was compelled to follow up
with a bit more research. I was particularly interested in that mouth part to which you referred.
As you can see in one of my photos, the cicada had just begun to insert its’ proboscis into my
flesh…it was at that point that I set it down on the ground! From what I have read, this behavior
was not adversarial or defensive but rather a food absorbing action. I did feel a bit of a sting,
but I have no hard feelings nor any skin effect! All in all, my cicada experience was very
interesting, and your input much appreciated!
Have a great day…