April 6, 2010
I accidently dug this fascinating creature out of the ground near my peonies while doing some spring gardening in Boise, Idaho. It’s a beautiful light jade color, and looks like some sort of wasp… a member of the Halictidae family, perhaps? Its wings are just stubs and its ability to walk leaves something to be desired. It stumbles around blindly. A juvenile or a queen?
Thank you! Johanna
This is a Cicada Nymph. Immature Cicadas live underground where they feed on the sap in roots. They metamorphose into winged adults that resemble large flies. We have never seen a photo of a Cicada Nymph with such lovely coloration. Alas, we do not know the species.
After posting, we found a match on BugGuide identified as being in the genus Platypedia.
Well, hot diggity! Thanks! So what should I do with it now? It was dug up from within the soil, so I can’t really put it back. (Can I?) Will it survive if I set it on the ground under the flowers where I found it? Wikipedia informs me that cicadas are damaging to plants, but to heck with my plants. I don’t want to kill this lil’ guy, nor have it die simply because I disturbed his home. Is it too late? He’s sitting in a jar of dirt right now, and seems to be happy enough.
Hi again Johanna,
We would recommend putting it back where you found it. If the soil was freshly turned, the immature Cicada should be able to dig back underground.