Subject: Do You Want Pictures of a Cicada Ecdysis/Molt?
Location: Duncanville, Texas
September 26, 2013 7:12 pm
Cicada’s are a buzzin’ in Texas this time of year (late in the Summer [not Fall]). I found several molts, and took several pictures of one. Would you be interested in including this one on your website? Sorry about the side view. I’ll try to send you a better picture. I also have head and tail views as well. Notice the dried mud on the legs, and also the siphon/tube of a mouth. Very cool. Unfortunately, you don’t get to see those cool colors on the molt.
Signature: Keith Minor
Thanks for the Texas Cicada report. Cicadas do make quite a din and it is a sound we miss in Los Angeles because our local species don’t have the same internal amplification systems as the more Eastern species. This might be the first ventral view we have ever received of a Cicada exuvia.
Glad I could add to the wealth of great info on your website : )
I’ll get you a better picture of the side view. I’m not sure why it came out kind of grainy.
I have a couple of questions:
On the mid-ventral side, what is that round “belly button” disk?
Also, I see some ligament looking features around the opening of the old exoskeleton. Is that from the cicada or is it just some plant material?
Why is there so much dirt on the legs and mouth? I assume from the shapes of the legs that that cicada’s are diggers. Are they looking for food?
Can you tell males from females from the molt?
Oh! If you include my blurb, can you change “late Fall” to “late Summer”? I’ve got Fall on the brain, waiting for the TX August/September heat to finally let up.
In response to your questions:
1. We don’t know what the “belly button” disk is.
2. The ligament features come from the cicada, but we are unable to tell you exactly what they are.
3. The dirt question we know. Cicada nymphs live for several years, or in the case of some Periodical Cicadas, 17 years, underground where they feed by sucking nourishment from the roots of plants. When they are nearing maturity, they dig to the surface and molt as part of the metamorphosis process. Dirt that stuck to the nymph as it dug its way to the surface remained behind with the exuvia after molting.
4. We do not have the necessary skills to sex the uxuvia of Cicadas.
We will correct the season.
P.S. Thanks for the additional images.
Thanks for fielding my questions. I have a keen fascination with insects, yet I know very little about even the ones I see every year. Although they are often called “lower organisms”, they are amazingly complex and diverse animals.
As promised, please find attached a better side view of the molt. I accidentally cracked the left leg, so I had to turn the shell around and get the right side instead. Just as well.
I will try to send more close ups of insects in the future, as the opportunities lend themselves.