What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Slow-moving, clawed, & bug-eyed
Location: Nanaimo, B.C., Canada
May 26, 2017 9:43 pm
I saw this slow-moving insect on a sunny, dry, mossy hillside, crawling very slowly. It was about 1 inch long. It had a large claw on each foreleg, and a thin shaft attached to the underside of its head. I wonder what that shaft is for? It also appeared to have two pairs of wing buds. The head reminded me of a dragonfly larva, and the abdomen, a wasp. I have more photos if you like. What kind of critter is this very interesting specimen? Thanks a lot!
Signature: John Segal

Cicada Nymph

Dear John,
This is a very exciting posting for us.  This is a Cicada Nymph, and because immature Cicadas spend their entire lives underground, we rarely receive images of them, though we do receive many images of the exuvia of Cicadas, the cast off exoskeletons left behind when the nymph digs to the surface and molts for the last time, flying off as a winged adult.  Based on comments on this BugGuide posting, including “At this time of the year, in the Pacific Northwest, about the only thing it ‘could’ be is a species of
Platypedia” by Eric Eaton in late April 2009 and “we have only one species in that genus in Victoria. Platypedia areolata” by James Miskelly.  According to BugGuide, this species is called a Salmonfly.  BugGuide data lists sightings from April through June in British Columbia.  According to Backyard Nature where it is called an Orchard Cicada:  “Its small size of about 25 mm (a little less than an inch), its long-hairy body and the chestnut-colored, spiny-bottomed section of its forelegs distinguish it from other cicadas I’ve seen. Bea in Ontario, who helps with my insect IDs because of my slow modem connection here, thinks it’s probably PLATYPEDIA AREOLATA, and I suspect she’s correct, for I find that species described as ‘the Orchard Cicada, the common cicada of the Pacific Northwest Region.'”

Cicada Nymph

Hi Daniel,
Thank you so much for quickly identifying this cicada nymph for me.  It’s exciting to know that my sighting is quite rare, which is a reminder to this senior citizen that there is always something new to see in this world.
Now that I know what it is, I can do some reading about this species, and try to learn more about it.  I would be especially interested in learning how close my specimen is to developing wings, and how long it might live from this point onwards.  I’m also curious about the function of that slender shaft underneath its head or thorax.
Sincerely,
John
Hi John,
We are happy our response excited you.  Our mission is to provide information for the web browsing public in order to foster a greater appreciation of the lower beasts.  Since this individual has dug to the surface, we suspect final molt might have already occurred.  The proboscis is used to pierce the roots of plants upon which the nymph has been feeding underground.  The mouths of Hemipterans are designed to pierce and suck fluids.

Cicada Nymph

Hi Daniel,
I have always appreciated the “lower beasts”, so I appreciate the great service you do on their behalf.  Thank you very much for explaining about this insect’s proboscis, and also its molt timing.  It’s fascinating to learn how different animals live their lives, isn’t it?
I know the sound of adult cicadas, so if I hear one in the area where I saw this specimen, it will mean much more to me now, as I wonder if it’s “my” cicada!
Thanks again,
John
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada

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