Annual Cicada Metamorphosis

Subject: Cicada
Location: Wv
August 8, 2016 8:19 pm
Signature: Brandon

Annual Cicada Metamorphosis
Annual Cicada Metamorphosis

Dear Brandon,
Thanks for sending your awesome image of the metamorphosis of an Annual Cicada.  Annual Cicadas spend several years underground as nymphs, and as they mature, they dig to the surface and molt for the last time, emerging as adult Cicadas.  Annual Cicadas appear every year, which distinguished them from Periodical Cicadas.  Periodical Cicadas in the genus Magicicada spend 17 years underground as nymphs (13 years in southern states) and they emerge in great numbers in a given year.  They are not seen again in that location until the next Brood matures in 17 or 13 years.  Earlier this year, we put out a request for Periodical Cicada images from Brood V, which ranges in the states of Ohio, West Virginia, New York, Virginia, Pennsylvania or Maryland, according to Cicada Mania.  We did not receive an Brood V images.  There are currently 15 active broods being monitored by Cicada Mania, and you can see the predicted emergence schedules on the site.

3 thoughts on “Annual Cicada Metamorphosis”

  1. Wow, that is an AWESOME image! I love how the little girl is watching happily (and not screaming and hiding, having been taught by the adults in her life to fear insects).

    I love cicadas and I was sorely tempted to drive the 5 or so hours to the nearest part of this year’s brood of Periodical Cicadas. I decided not to, but as I sit near my window I still get to enjoy the whines and buzzes of all my local ones as I type this.

  2. Most cicada species have lifecycles between 2 and 8 years. These species are often called “annual” cicadas. Annual broods overlap so adults can be found every year. Species in each lifecycle group have different sizes, colors, and songs. In contrast, “periodical” cicadas mature together in long lifecycles of 13 or 17 years. Periodical cicadas have a 3-stage lifecycle too, but spend many years as nymphs. Most of the emerging periodical cicada broods contain 2 or 3 species. The lifecycle of periodical cicadas is between 13 and 17 years. They appear in May and June. Periodical cicada adults are present in a given area only in certain years. Most of their time is spent underground in the nymph stage.


Leave a Comment