Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cicadas? A Quick Guide for Reptile Owners

Bearded dragons have become increasingly popular exotic pets, with many owners looking for the best ways to care for them, including their dietary needs. These reptiles have a diverse diet in the wild, consisting of various insects, fruits, and vegetables. One question that arises among bearded dragon owners is whether they can consume cicadas, which are large plant-feeding insects known for their loud sounds and discarded exoskeletons.

Cicadas are not harmful to humans, pets, household gardens, or crops, making them a potential candidate for inclusion in a bearded dragon’s diet. When it comes to feeding your bearded dragons, it’s essential to understand their nutritional requirements and preferences. This article will explore the possibility of feeding cicadas to bearded dragons, the nutritional benefits, and potential drawbacks associated with this insect snack.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cicadas

Health Benefits of Cicadas

Cicadas are insects that provide a good source of protein, calcium, and other essential nutrients for many animals. Their size, coupled with the fact that they are easily digestible, make them a potentially beneficial food source for reptiles, such as bearded dragons.

  • Protein: Like other insects, cicadas are high in protein, which is important for healthy muscle development in bearded dragons.
  • Calcium: These insects also contain a decent amount of calcium to help support strong bones in your reptile.

Potential Risks and Hazards

However, there are some risks associated with feeding cicadas to your bearded dragon.

  • Impaction: Cicadas have hard exoskeletons and wings which could potentially lead to impaction, as they may not break down properly in your bearded dragon’s digestive system.
  • Noise: While not a direct risk to your bearded dragon, cicadas are loud insects, which could be a nuisance if you decide to keep them as a regular food source in your home.

Comparison of Insects as Food for Bearded Dragons

Insect Protein Calcium Ease of Digestion Noise Risk of Impaction
Cicada High Good Moderate High Moderate
Dubai Roach High Good High Low Low
Hornworm High Good High Low Low
Cricket High Good Moderate Low Moderate

In conclusion, while cicadas offer some nutritional benefits for bearded dragons, their potential risks should be taken into consideration. Make sure to assess the size and hardness of the cicadas before feeding them to your bearded dragon to ensure their safety and overall health.

Feeding Cicadas to Bearded Dragons

Wild Cicadas vs Captive Bred Cicadas

Bearded dragons are omnivores and can eat a variety of insects, fruits, and vegetables. Cicadas can be a part of their diet, but it’s important to consider the source of the cicadas.

Wild Cicadas:

  • Easy to find during summer
  • Risk of parasites, diseases, or harmful substances like lawn chemicals and fertilizers

Captive Bred Cicadas:

  • Safer option as they are free of parasites and chemicals
  • Need to find a reputable source for purchase

Preparing Cicadas for Consumption

Before feeding cicadas to your bearded dragon, there are a few steps to follow:

  1. Remove wings and legs if your beardie is still a baby, as the exoskeleton can be a choking hazard, especially for baby bearded dragons
  2. Make sure the cicadas are not too large for your bearded dragon to avoid choking
  3. If the cicadas are wild-caught, consider freezing them for 24 hours to kill any potential parasites

Frequency of Feeding Cicadas

Cicadas can be a nutritious and protein-rich addition to a bearded dragon’s diet. However, it is important not to overfeed them. Cicadas should be fed occasionally and in moderation, with a diet consisting mainly of vegetables and other staple insects like crickets, mealworms, and roaches. Consult your veterinarian for specific recommendations on how often to feed cicadas based on your bearded dragon’s age, size, and health.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Periodical Cicada and Giant Leopard Moth

 

What is this bug
Location: Nashville, TN
May 27, 2011 2:34 pm
It’s black and white, but I have never seen it before. All the research I have done has turned up with nothing… Found around the nashville, TN area a couple days ago (May)
Signature: -Andrew

Giant Leopard Moth (right) and Periodical Cicada

Dear Andrew,
We love your photo documenting a Giant Leopard Moth or Eyed Tiger Moth,
Hypercompe scribonia. side by side with a Periodical Cicada, a member of the Brood XIX of the 13 Year Cicada.

Letter 2 – Periodical and Annual Cicada together

 

two cicada species together
I’m looking forward to the end of Brood XIII in the western suburbs of Chicago, as I’m getting pretty tired of them, then I saw this. Can you identify the green one for me? I love your website.
Carol Toman

Hi Carol,
Your Periodical Cicada on the left is being accompanied by one of the green Annual Cicadas in the genus Tibicen. They are often called Dogday Harvestflies since they normally appear in late summer, but this specimen arrived a bit early. A true expert would be needed to give you an exact species.

Letter 3 – Periodical Cicada

 

Good photos of 2 spiders and a 17 year cicada
Hi,
Thanks to your site I was able to identify the two spiders in the
attached photos. One is an orb web weaver and the other an orchard spider. I thought the pictures were good enough that you might be interested in having them. The orchard spider was outiside in the basement window well of my house and looked quite unlike the usual bugs here in suburban Essex county, NJ. The orb web weaver was taken in the Poconos in PA. I also attached a photo of a brood X 17 year cicada taken in Princeton, NJ. I have a short video of the 17 year cicadas that captures both the sound a large number of them make as well as the sound of the individual cicada that is the subject of the video. If you are interested let me know and I will send you a copy. Thanks,
Peter

Hi Peter,
At this point in time, we do not have the man hours to post all your great images, but we are thrilled to post the Periodical Cicada.

Letter 4 – Periodical Cicada: Brood XIV

 

Cicada North Carolina
Just looking at the Cicada’s on your site and realized you did not have a picture of the Cicada from Asheville, North Carolina that’s been “bugging” us this year, I am having a lot of fun with these bugs.
Nadine Maltz

Hi Nadine,
We have numerous images of Periodical Cicadas, Magicicada septendecim, also known as the 17 Year Locust. This is a member of Brood XIV and it is the second image of the species we have received this year. The first was from Ohio.

Letter 5 – Periodical Cicada: Brood XIV

 

Very Cool Cicada Picture
This little guy had just popped out of his shell!
Rich Hetzel
Loveland, ohio

Hi Rich,
We are thrilled that you have sent us a photo of a Periodical Cicada, sometimes called a 17 Year Locust. This year Brood XIV will be making appearances in KY, GA, IN, MA, MD, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, TN, VA, and WV.

Letter 6 – Orange Drummer Cicadas from Australia

 

Orange Drummer cicadas
Bugman:
No question this time, but thought you might be interested to see pics of a rare type of Thopa cicada – the Orange Drummer, or Thopa colorata. It inhabits a very small section of Central Australia.
http://www.flickr.com/photos /travelcat/2067077737/in/photostream/
We’ve dozens of these around the house just now, good thing neither of us have a bug phobia! We’ve had a dozen or so hatch just this morning! If you want to link to these pics, feel free!
Jodi

Hi Jodi,
Thank you so much for sending us your gorgeous Orange Drummer Cicada photos. We love getting so many wonderful submissions from Australia during your summer.

Letter 7 – Periodical Cicada

 

Periodical Cicada?
Thu, May 21, 2009 at 9:13 AM
Greetings! Early in the morning about a week ago, I noticed something white on the ground – looking closer, I realized it was a cicada freshly emerged with it’s shed casing nearby. It was on it’s back & struggling; touching bugs give me the heebe-geebes, so I just got in my car & drove away after taking the photo. When I got home that evening, I looked for it & it had gained it’s legs and changed color, but looked dead. It stayed there for a couple days then disappeared. I think it fell out of a River Birch and ‘hatched’ on the ground instead of up in the tree like it should have. I’m located just outside of Raleigh, NC. Great site!
only observe from a distance
Raleigh NC

Periodical Cicada
Periodical Cicada

Trauma during metamorphosis often results in moths not being able to fully develop their wings.  The same is probably true for Cicadas like your tragic example of a Periodical Cicada.  We do find it unusual that you don’t mention seeing any other individuals.  We find it hard to believe that only a single individual emerged in your area.

Letter 8 – Newly Metamorphosed Cicada

 

Rainbow Wings
Location: MA
July 3, 2011 6:05 pm
I was wondering what kind of bug the green with rainbow wings was.
Signature: Hollie

Annual Cicada: Exuvia and Imago

Hi Hollie,
You have taken a photo of a newly metamorphosed Annual Cicada in the genus
Tibicen, and to the right is the cast off exuvia or exoskeleton that the subterranean nymph left behind after metamorphosing into a winged adult.

Letter 9 – Newly Metamorphosed Cicada

 

Big bug, beautiful wings
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
July 13, 2011 2:03 pm
Have found the shells of these the last two years, but this was the first time I actually saw the bug. What is it?
Signature: MI Mom

Newly Metamorphosed Cicada

Dear MI Mom,
This is a newly metamorphosed Cicada, and the shell is the shed exoskeleton of the nymph, known as the exuvia.  Upon hatching, tiny Cicada nymphs burrow underground where they remain for several years feeding on fluids from the roots of trees and shrubs.  Upon maturing, they dig to the surface and molt for the final time into winged adults.

Letter 10 – Periodical Cicada

 

Use of pic for Illinois FFA Forestry contest
Location: Greater Glendale Illinois
August 18, 2011 2:26 pm
Dear Whats That Bug, I am looking for permission to use a few images for use in a FFA forestry contest. The image would be printed once, laminated and used for the contest and for educational purposes only. The pics that I would like to use are at the following url.
wp-content/uploads/2011/06/forest_tent_caterpillar_kt.jpg
Date of the contest is September 20, 2011.
Since the site made me place a pic in the image place, I did! Some sort of flocked insect taken last year while pruning a walnut plantation.
Thank you,
Jim Kirkland
Interim Director
University of Illinois
Illinois Forest Resource Center
jakirk@illinois.edu
Signature: Jim Kirkland

Mating Periodical Cicadas

Dear Jim Kirkland,
Please explain how the photo will be used.  It obviously cannot be entered in the contest by anyone but Jane who took the photo.  The photo you attached depicts mating Periodical Cicadas.

Letter 11 – Periodical Cicada: Brood XIII

 

Seventeen Year Cicada
Location: Glenview, Illinois
September 12, 2011 8:14 pm
Magicicada, image taken in June, 2007 in Cook County, IL. They will be back in 2024.
Signature: Venom

Periodical Cicada: Brood XIII

Hi Venom,
We are happy you included the date of the sighting.  We were actually a bit shocked to be receiving a submission of a Periodical Cicada in September.  This is a member of Brood XIII, called the Northern Illinois Brood according to the Periodical Cicada Brood website.

Thanks for the email. I had submitted some images of the Spinyback Orbweaver spiders, and in looking thru some of my jpegs, I thought it would be interesting to submit the Cicada. I actually put up a site, www.seventeenyearcicada.com  in which I posted many images back in 2007.
I’m kind of obsessed with close-up images of insects so I hope to post more as time goes by.
Thanks again,
John Spina

Hi John,
Now that you have opened the door on photography, and since our editorial staff teaches photography, and since we are very interested in staged photographs as much as we are interested in perfectly representational photographs of bugs, we feel compelled to ask if you found the Cicada on the geranium inflorescence or if you placed it there.

Good question. I placed it there, simply for the contrasting colors. Those bugs want nothing to do with flowers, their native positions are usually on tree leaves. Odd, they simply mate and die, don’t devour vegetation, and have no natural predators…against the rules of nature.
Anyway, I found it to be a nice color combination. Once I shot the image, she flew away. So, the subtitle should read “placed on the backdrop for color effect only”.
John

Hi again John,
We would like to qualify your latest response.  While it is true that adult Cicadas do not feed on leaves, they do feed on sap.  Also, they have numerous natural predators.  The emergence of swarms of Periodical Cicadas provides a bounty of food for birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects and spiders as well as a host of other predators that you might not expect.  Cicadas falling onto the surface of water will feed fish, and with the current fad of entomophagy gaining popularity, even people are getting in in the Cicada eating action.  

Letter 12 – Newly Metamorphosed Periodical Cicada: Brood II

 

Subject: Brand-new magicicada
Location: Manassas, Virginia
June 6, 2013 3:35 pm
Here is a Magicicada fresh out of its shell:)
Signature: Katie

Periodical Cicada
Periodical Cicada

Hi Katie,
Thanks for sending a photo of a Brood II Periodical Cicada.  Can you provide some additional information?  Was this an isolated sighting or part of a swarm?  If it was an isolated individual, we wonder if it is part of the advanced guard of the new emergence.  Since we haven’t received many images of Brood II Cicadas, we also wonder if this will not be an exceptional year or if the brood is late in appearing.

Update from Katie:  June 18, 2013
Hi Daniel,
I had MANY cicadas in my yard this year- I live in Manassas Virginia, and my neighborhood has been pretty un-touched by all the development that surrounds it.  They started emerging from the ground around the first or second week of May.  For sure, part of a swarm-every time I parked my car a pile of the little guys would latch on to my tires to shed ( all of which were removed before departure) and they were EVERYWHERE!!  The trees sang for about a month-haven’t heard them lately, think they got the job done:) Beautiful creatures-I feel lucky that I got to have them hang out in my yard!  With all the development in the northern Virginia area though, I’m afraid many of them where probably uprooted along with the trees:(

Letter 13 – Ninth Recipient of the Nasty Reader Award: Bush Cicada

 

Ed. Note:  Though it is nowhere near as virulent as other nasty emails we have received, we have decided this posting needs to be tagged with our Nasty Reader Award nonetheless.  Perhaps we are being overly sensitive, but the followup communication from M R just rubbed us the wrong way by implying that our personal (and originally unposted) response was not sufficient.  First, the original email we received did not even include a question, and by all appearances, including the use of abbreviations, this was a hasty submission.  We are a free internet service and we do not have the time to do extensive research on every request we receive.  The image is out of focus, and it is not attractive.  We choose requests with catchy subject lines, attractive images, interesting anecdotes or rare sightings for posting purposes because we find them more interesting, and we believe our readership will also find them more interesting.  We responded to MR the same day the submission was made, and it took MR more than a day to put a species name to the Cicada.  Exact species identifications are frequently time consuming, as MR learned, and we had no clue from the information we received that a species name was even desired.  Granted, our identification was general, but it was correct.  Getting what seems to be a snotty reply that “I figured that a bug id ‘What’s That Bug’ would have at least figured out that it was a Cicada” seemed totally unnecessary and crafted to demean our site.  So, after a hiatus of more than three years, we are finally awarding our Ninth Nasty Reader Award.  We are also linking to BugGuide for information on Neotibicen dorsatus, the Bush Cicada.  

Subject: Bug
Location: TX
August 18, 2015 1:53 am
Don’t know what this bug is called
Signature: M R

Cicada
Bush Cicada

On Tuesday, August 18, 2015, whatsthatbug.com@gmail.com wrote:
cicada

August 20, 10:02 PM
It’s a Cicada ( Tibicen Dorsatus) Took some time but I was able to locate it.
I figured that a bug id “What’s That Bug” would have at least figured out that it was a Cicada.

Letter 14 – Periodical Cicada Brood XIX

 

Subject: Newly hatched Cicada
Location: Salisbury, NC
July 29, 2016 12:21 pm
Took this photo a few years ago, still one of my favorites. Thought you’d enjoy seeing it.
Signature: Heidi C.

Brood XIX Periodical Cicada
Brood XIX Periodical Cicada

Dear Heidi,
According to the file data, this image was taken on May 9, 2011 at 11:50 AM.  That makes this Periodical Cicada a member of Brood XIX, or the Great Southern Brood, according to USA Today.  This brood has a 13 year cycle, as opposed to the 17 year cycle of more northern broods.  Also, it appears that the lower creature in your image is a nymph that has not yet molted, and not an empty exuvia.  Earlier this year, we sent out a request for images of Brood V Periodical Cicadas, but alas, none were submitted.

Letter 15 – Northern Dusk Singing Cicada

 

Subject: Cicada?
Location: Burns Flat, OK
August 8, 2016 3:26 pm
Could you help identify this bug?
Signature: Melissa Niavez

Northern Dusk Singing Cicada
Northern Dusk Singing Cicada

Dear Melissa,
You are correct that this is a Cicada, and we believe based on this BugGuide image, it is a Northern Dusk Singing Cicada,
Neotibicen auletes.  According to BugGuide it:  “is our LARGEST EASTERN Tibicen SPECIES.”  It is described on BugGuide as:  “1) SIZE: Avg. 2.25-2.75 inches (up to ~3.0”) in total length (incl. wings).   2) COLORATION: 2 color forms ‘Olive-Green/Olive-Taupe-Tan’ or ‘Rust/Reddish-brown   … 3) PRUINOSITY: These cicadas often look as though they are molded or have been dusted in “powdered sugar”. No other US species is so pruinose (NOTE: This white wax will wipe off and over time, esp. in older specimens, much of the white can be lost! Reduced white wax often changes the general appearance of these insects)  4) EYES: when alive/fresh, the eyes are a light – often described as a sandy tan, grey-tan or rarely purplish-grey or purplish-tan. “

Letter 16 – Periodical Cicada Brood X Straggler from Kentucky

 

Subject: Which Brood, Kentucky?
Location: Louisville, ky.
May 17, 2017 8:24 pm
I spotted this cicada today in Louisville, Kentucky. I saw the earlier post on this site saying some of the brood X are emerging early. Is this one of the early cicadas?
Signature: Ann

Periodical Cicada: Brood X Straggler from Kentucky

Dear Ann,
Because of your Kentucky location, we believe this Periodical Cicada is also a Brood X straggler.  According to Cicada Mania:  “Brood X stragglers are emerging in Tennessee (around Knoxville), Washington D.C., Virginia (counties around D.C.), Maryland (counties around D.C.), Ohio (around Cincinnati), Delaware, Indiana, & Kentucky! These stragglers are emerging 4 years ahead of time.”

Letter 17 – Periodical Cicada Exuvia: Brood X Straggler

 

Subject: unknown bug
Location: Maryland
May 18, 2017 5:35 am
hello, I was wondering if you could please let me know what kind of bug this is in the picture. I live in Baldwin, Maryland and I have seen this bug before I believe it sheds a shell of its skin. This one seems like it is getting bigger underneath so Im thinking it may be pregnant.
Signature: Thank you, Michele

Periodical Cicada Exuvia: Brood X Straggler

Dear Michele,
This is the exuvia or shed exoskeleton of a Cicada, and considering your location and time of year, this is probably the exuvia of a Periodical Cicada, a Brood X straggler.  According to Cicada Mania:  “Brood X stragglers are emerging in Tennessee (around Knoxville), Washington D.C., Virginia (counties around D.C.), Maryland (counties around D.C.), Ohio (around Cincinnati), Delaware, Indiana, & Kentucky! These stragglers are emerging 4 years ahead of time. HOT weather this week will cause even more to emerge, and they may begin to chorus (synchronized singing) as well.”  Periodical Cicadas are erroneously called 17 Year Locusts.

Letter 18 – Periodical Cicada: Brood X Stragglers emerge in Ohio

 

Subject: Cicadas
Location: Columbus, OH
May 26, 2017 12:23 pm
So the cicadas have arrived, guess that means its officially summer. I’m including a pic of an adult and the shell of a nymph (?) it came from (maybe, I think, Lol). Don’t know which kind of cicadas this is (how many years it spent under ground), but its out in Columbus, OH now.
Signature: Amber

Periodical Cicada: Brood X Straggler

Dear Amber,
This is a Periodical Cicada, and in your area, Periodical Cicadas normally remain underground for 17 years, leading to the common name 17 Year Locust, though Cicadas and Locusts are not related.  2017 is the year Brood VI Periodical Cicadas are due to emerge in Georgia and the Carolinas according to Cicada Mania.  For some reason, this year is also producing Brood X Stragglers and according to Cicada Mania:  “Brood X stragglers have emerged in Tennessee (around Knoxville), Washington D.C., Virginia (counties around D.C.), Maryland (counties around D.C.), Ohio (around Cincinnati), Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, & New Jersey (around Princeton)! They are chorusing in many locations.”  Cicada Mania also includes this fascinating information:  “Note: because of the significant number of cicadas emerging ahead of time, this might be an acceleration event. Periodical cicada accelerations occur when a significant group of an established brood emerge in years ahead of the main brood, and sometimes the accelerated group are able to reproduce and create what is essentially a new brood. Brood VI was likely part of Brood X at one point of time1. We’ll have to see if the Brood X stragglers are able to survive predation, and reproduce in significant numbers to sustain future populations. They are certainly trying.”  The exuvia or cast off exoskeleton of the nymph is a nice addition to your submission.

Exuvia of a Periodical Cicada

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Periodical Cicada and Giant Leopard Moth

 

What is this bug
Location: Nashville, TN
May 27, 2011 2:34 pm
It’s black and white, but I have never seen it before. All the research I have done has turned up with nothing… Found around the nashville, TN area a couple days ago (May)
Signature: -Andrew

Giant Leopard Moth (right) and Periodical Cicada

Dear Andrew,
We love your photo documenting a Giant Leopard Moth or Eyed Tiger Moth,
Hypercompe scribonia. side by side with a Periodical Cicada, a member of the Brood XIX of the 13 Year Cicada.

Letter 2 – Periodical and Annual Cicada together

 

two cicada species together
I’m looking forward to the end of Brood XIII in the western suburbs of Chicago, as I’m getting pretty tired of them, then I saw this. Can you identify the green one for me? I love your website.
Carol Toman

Hi Carol,
Your Periodical Cicada on the left is being accompanied by one of the green Annual Cicadas in the genus Tibicen. They are often called Dogday Harvestflies since they normally appear in late summer, but this specimen arrived a bit early. A true expert would be needed to give you an exact species.

Letter 3 – Periodical Cicada

 

Good photos of 2 spiders and a 17 year cicada
Hi,
Thanks to your site I was able to identify the two spiders in the
attached photos. One is an orb web weaver and the other an orchard spider. I thought the pictures were good enough that you might be interested in having them. The orchard spider was outiside in the basement window well of my house and looked quite unlike the usual bugs here in suburban Essex county, NJ. The orb web weaver was taken in the Poconos in PA. I also attached a photo of a brood X 17 year cicada taken in Princeton, NJ. I have a short video of the 17 year cicadas that captures both the sound a large number of them make as well as the sound of the individual cicada that is the subject of the video. If you are interested let me know and I will send you a copy. Thanks,
Peter

Hi Peter,
At this point in time, we do not have the man hours to post all your great images, but we are thrilled to post the Periodical Cicada.

Letter 4 – Periodical Cicada: Brood XIV

 

Cicada North Carolina
Just looking at the Cicada’s on your site and realized you did not have a picture of the Cicada from Asheville, North Carolina that’s been “bugging” us this year, I am having a lot of fun with these bugs.
Nadine Maltz

Hi Nadine,
We have numerous images of Periodical Cicadas, Magicicada septendecim, also known as the 17 Year Locust. This is a member of Brood XIV and it is the second image of the species we have received this year. The first was from Ohio.

Letter 5 – Periodical Cicada: Brood XIV

 

Very Cool Cicada Picture
This little guy had just popped out of his shell!
Rich Hetzel
Loveland, ohio

Hi Rich,
We are thrilled that you have sent us a photo of a Periodical Cicada, sometimes called a 17 Year Locust. This year Brood XIV will be making appearances in KY, GA, IN, MA, MD, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, TN, VA, and WV.

Letter 6 – Orange Drummer Cicadas from Australia

 

Orange Drummer cicadas
Bugman:
No question this time, but thought you might be interested to see pics of a rare type of Thopa cicada – the Orange Drummer, or Thopa colorata. It inhabits a very small section of Central Australia.
http://www.flickr.com/photos /travelcat/2067077737/in/photostream/
We’ve dozens of these around the house just now, good thing neither of us have a bug phobia! We’ve had a dozen or so hatch just this morning! If you want to link to these pics, feel free!
Jodi

Hi Jodi,
Thank you so much for sending us your gorgeous Orange Drummer Cicada photos. We love getting so many wonderful submissions from Australia during your summer.

Letter 7 – Periodical Cicada

 

Periodical Cicada?
Thu, May 21, 2009 at 9:13 AM
Greetings! Early in the morning about a week ago, I noticed something white on the ground – looking closer, I realized it was a cicada freshly emerged with it’s shed casing nearby. It was on it’s back & struggling; touching bugs give me the heebe-geebes, so I just got in my car & drove away after taking the photo. When I got home that evening, I looked for it & it had gained it’s legs and changed color, but looked dead. It stayed there for a couple days then disappeared. I think it fell out of a River Birch and ‘hatched’ on the ground instead of up in the tree like it should have. I’m located just outside of Raleigh, NC. Great site!
only observe from a distance
Raleigh NC

Periodical Cicada
Periodical Cicada

Trauma during metamorphosis often results in moths not being able to fully develop their wings.  The same is probably true for Cicadas like your tragic example of a Periodical Cicada.  We do find it unusual that you don’t mention seeing any other individuals.  We find it hard to believe that only a single individual emerged in your area.

Letter 8 – Newly Metamorphosed Cicada

 

Rainbow Wings
Location: MA
July 3, 2011 6:05 pm
I was wondering what kind of bug the green with rainbow wings was.
Signature: Hollie

Annual Cicada: Exuvia and Imago

Hi Hollie,
You have taken a photo of a newly metamorphosed Annual Cicada in the genus
Tibicen, and to the right is the cast off exuvia or exoskeleton that the subterranean nymph left behind after metamorphosing into a winged adult.

Letter 9 – Newly Metamorphosed Cicada

 

Big bug, beautiful wings
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
July 13, 2011 2:03 pm
Have found the shells of these the last two years, but this was the first time I actually saw the bug. What is it?
Signature: MI Mom

Newly Metamorphosed Cicada

Dear MI Mom,
This is a newly metamorphosed Cicada, and the shell is the shed exoskeleton of the nymph, known as the exuvia.  Upon hatching, tiny Cicada nymphs burrow underground where they remain for several years feeding on fluids from the roots of trees and shrubs.  Upon maturing, they dig to the surface and molt for the final time into winged adults.

Letter 10 – Periodical Cicada

 

Use of pic for Illinois FFA Forestry contest
Location: Greater Glendale Illinois
August 18, 2011 2:26 pm
Dear Whats That Bug, I am looking for permission to use a few images for use in a FFA forestry contest. The image would be printed once, laminated and used for the contest and for educational purposes only. The pics that I would like to use are at the following url.
wp-content/uploads/2011/06/forest_tent_caterpillar_kt.jpg
Date of the contest is September 20, 2011.
Since the site made me place a pic in the image place, I did! Some sort of flocked insect taken last year while pruning a walnut plantation.
Thank you,
Jim Kirkland
Interim Director
University of Illinois
Illinois Forest Resource Center
jakirk@illinois.edu
Signature: Jim Kirkland

Mating Periodical Cicadas

Dear Jim Kirkland,
Please explain how the photo will be used.  It obviously cannot be entered in the contest by anyone but Jane who took the photo.  The photo you attached depicts mating Periodical Cicadas.

Letter 11 – Periodical Cicada: Brood XIII

 

Seventeen Year Cicada
Location: Glenview, Illinois
September 12, 2011 8:14 pm
Magicicada, image taken in June, 2007 in Cook County, IL. They will be back in 2024.
Signature: Venom

Periodical Cicada: Brood XIII

Hi Venom,
We are happy you included the date of the sighting.  We were actually a bit shocked to be receiving a submission of a Periodical Cicada in September.  This is a member of Brood XIII, called the Northern Illinois Brood according to the Periodical Cicada Brood website.

Thanks for the email. I had submitted some images of the Spinyback Orbweaver spiders, and in looking thru some of my jpegs, I thought it would be interesting to submit the Cicada. I actually put up a site, www.seventeenyearcicada.com  in which I posted many images back in 2007.
I’m kind of obsessed with close-up images of insects so I hope to post more as time goes by.
Thanks again,
John Spina

Hi John,
Now that you have opened the door on photography, and since our editorial staff teaches photography, and since we are very interested in staged photographs as much as we are interested in perfectly representational photographs of bugs, we feel compelled to ask if you found the Cicada on the geranium inflorescence or if you placed it there.

Good question. I placed it there, simply for the contrasting colors. Those bugs want nothing to do with flowers, their native positions are usually on tree leaves. Odd, they simply mate and die, don’t devour vegetation, and have no natural predators…against the rules of nature.
Anyway, I found it to be a nice color combination. Once I shot the image, she flew away. So, the subtitle should read “placed on the backdrop for color effect only”.
John

Hi again John,
We would like to qualify your latest response.  While it is true that adult Cicadas do not feed on leaves, they do feed on sap.  Also, they have numerous natural predators.  The emergence of swarms of Periodical Cicadas provides a bounty of food for birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects and spiders as well as a host of other predators that you might not expect.  Cicadas falling onto the surface of water will feed fish, and with the current fad of entomophagy gaining popularity, even people are getting in in the Cicada eating action.  

Letter 12 – Newly Metamorphosed Periodical Cicada: Brood II

 

Subject: Brand-new magicicada
Location: Manassas, Virginia
June 6, 2013 3:35 pm
Here is a Magicicada fresh out of its shell:)
Signature: Katie

Periodical Cicada
Periodical Cicada

Hi Katie,
Thanks for sending a photo of a Brood II Periodical Cicada.  Can you provide some additional information?  Was this an isolated sighting or part of a swarm?  If it was an isolated individual, we wonder if it is part of the advanced guard of the new emergence.  Since we haven’t received many images of Brood II Cicadas, we also wonder if this will not be an exceptional year or if the brood is late in appearing.

Update from Katie:  June 18, 2013
Hi Daniel,
I had MANY cicadas in my yard this year- I live in Manassas Virginia, and my neighborhood has been pretty un-touched by all the development that surrounds it.  They started emerging from the ground around the first or second week of May.  For sure, part of a swarm-every time I parked my car a pile of the little guys would latch on to my tires to shed ( all of which were removed before departure) and they were EVERYWHERE!!  The trees sang for about a month-haven’t heard them lately, think they got the job done:) Beautiful creatures-I feel lucky that I got to have them hang out in my yard!  With all the development in the northern Virginia area though, I’m afraid many of them where probably uprooted along with the trees:(

Letter 13 – Ninth Recipient of the Nasty Reader Award: Bush Cicada

 

Ed. Note:  Though it is nowhere near as virulent as other nasty emails we have received, we have decided this posting needs to be tagged with our Nasty Reader Award nonetheless.  Perhaps we are being overly sensitive, but the followup communication from M R just rubbed us the wrong way by implying that our personal (and originally unposted) response was not sufficient.  First, the original email we received did not even include a question, and by all appearances, including the use of abbreviations, this was a hasty submission.  We are a free internet service and we do not have the time to do extensive research on every request we receive.  The image is out of focus, and it is not attractive.  We choose requests with catchy subject lines, attractive images, interesting anecdotes or rare sightings for posting purposes because we find them more interesting, and we believe our readership will also find them more interesting.  We responded to MR the same day the submission was made, and it took MR more than a day to put a species name to the Cicada.  Exact species identifications are frequently time consuming, as MR learned, and we had no clue from the information we received that a species name was even desired.  Granted, our identification was general, but it was correct.  Getting what seems to be a snotty reply that “I figured that a bug id ‘What’s That Bug’ would have at least figured out that it was a Cicada” seemed totally unnecessary and crafted to demean our site.  So, after a hiatus of more than three years, we are finally awarding our Ninth Nasty Reader Award.  We are also linking to BugGuide for information on Neotibicen dorsatus, the Bush Cicada.  

Subject: Bug
Location: TX
August 18, 2015 1:53 am
Don’t know what this bug is called
Signature: M R

Cicada
Bush Cicada

On Tuesday, August 18, 2015, whatsthatbug.com@gmail.com wrote:
cicada

August 20, 10:02 PM
It’s a Cicada ( Tibicen Dorsatus) Took some time but I was able to locate it.
I figured that a bug id “What’s That Bug” would have at least figured out that it was a Cicada.

Letter 14 – Periodical Cicada Brood XIX

 

Subject: Newly hatched Cicada
Location: Salisbury, NC
July 29, 2016 12:21 pm
Took this photo a few years ago, still one of my favorites. Thought you’d enjoy seeing it.
Signature: Heidi C.

Brood XIX Periodical Cicada
Brood XIX Periodical Cicada

Dear Heidi,
According to the file data, this image was taken on May 9, 2011 at 11:50 AM.  That makes this Periodical Cicada a member of Brood XIX, or the Great Southern Brood, according to USA Today.  This brood has a 13 year cycle, as opposed to the 17 year cycle of more northern broods.  Also, it appears that the lower creature in your image is a nymph that has not yet molted, and not an empty exuvia.  Earlier this year, we sent out a request for images of Brood V Periodical Cicadas, but alas, none were submitted.

Letter 15 – Northern Dusk Singing Cicada

 

Subject: Cicada?
Location: Burns Flat, OK
August 8, 2016 3:26 pm
Could you help identify this bug?
Signature: Melissa Niavez

Northern Dusk Singing Cicada
Northern Dusk Singing Cicada

Dear Melissa,
You are correct that this is a Cicada, and we believe based on this BugGuide image, it is a Northern Dusk Singing Cicada,
Neotibicen auletes.  According to BugGuide it:  “is our LARGEST EASTERN Tibicen SPECIES.”  It is described on BugGuide as:  “1) SIZE: Avg. 2.25-2.75 inches (up to ~3.0”) in total length (incl. wings).   2) COLORATION: 2 color forms ‘Olive-Green/Olive-Taupe-Tan’ or ‘Rust/Reddish-brown   … 3) PRUINOSITY: These cicadas often look as though they are molded or have been dusted in “powdered sugar”. No other US species is so pruinose (NOTE: This white wax will wipe off and over time, esp. in older specimens, much of the white can be lost! Reduced white wax often changes the general appearance of these insects)  4) EYES: when alive/fresh, the eyes are a light – often described as a sandy tan, grey-tan or rarely purplish-grey or purplish-tan. “

Letter 16 – Periodical Cicada Brood X Straggler from Kentucky

 

Subject: Which Brood, Kentucky?
Location: Louisville, ky.
May 17, 2017 8:24 pm
I spotted this cicada today in Louisville, Kentucky. I saw the earlier post on this site saying some of the brood X are emerging early. Is this one of the early cicadas?
Signature: Ann

Periodical Cicada: Brood X Straggler from Kentucky

Dear Ann,
Because of your Kentucky location, we believe this Periodical Cicada is also a Brood X straggler.  According to Cicada Mania:  “Brood X stragglers are emerging in Tennessee (around Knoxville), Washington D.C., Virginia (counties around D.C.), Maryland (counties around D.C.), Ohio (around Cincinnati), Delaware, Indiana, & Kentucky! These stragglers are emerging 4 years ahead of time.”

Letter 17 – Periodical Cicada Exuvia: Brood X Straggler

 

Subject: unknown bug
Location: Maryland
May 18, 2017 5:35 am
hello, I was wondering if you could please let me know what kind of bug this is in the picture. I live in Baldwin, Maryland and I have seen this bug before I believe it sheds a shell of its skin. This one seems like it is getting bigger underneath so Im thinking it may be pregnant.
Signature: Thank you, Michele

Periodical Cicada Exuvia: Brood X Straggler

Dear Michele,
This is the exuvia or shed exoskeleton of a Cicada, and considering your location and time of year, this is probably the exuvia of a Periodical Cicada, a Brood X straggler.  According to Cicada Mania:  “Brood X stragglers are emerging in Tennessee (around Knoxville), Washington D.C., Virginia (counties around D.C.), Maryland (counties around D.C.), Ohio (around Cincinnati), Delaware, Indiana, & Kentucky! These stragglers are emerging 4 years ahead of time. HOT weather this week will cause even more to emerge, and they may begin to chorus (synchronized singing) as well.”  Periodical Cicadas are erroneously called 17 Year Locusts.

Letter 18 – Periodical Cicada: Brood X Stragglers emerge in Ohio

 

Subject: Cicadas
Location: Columbus, OH
May 26, 2017 12:23 pm
So the cicadas have arrived, guess that means its officially summer. I’m including a pic of an adult and the shell of a nymph (?) it came from (maybe, I think, Lol). Don’t know which kind of cicadas this is (how many years it spent under ground), but its out in Columbus, OH now.
Signature: Amber

Periodical Cicada: Brood X Straggler

Dear Amber,
This is a Periodical Cicada, and in your area, Periodical Cicadas normally remain underground for 17 years, leading to the common name 17 Year Locust, though Cicadas and Locusts are not related.  2017 is the year Brood VI Periodical Cicadas are due to emerge in Georgia and the Carolinas according to Cicada Mania.  For some reason, this year is also producing Brood X Stragglers and according to Cicada Mania:  “Brood X stragglers have emerged in Tennessee (around Knoxville), Washington D.C., Virginia (counties around D.C.), Maryland (counties around D.C.), Ohio (around Cincinnati), Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, & New Jersey (around Princeton)! They are chorusing in many locations.”  Cicada Mania also includes this fascinating information:  “Note: because of the significant number of cicadas emerging ahead of time, this might be an acceleration event. Periodical cicada accelerations occur when a significant group of an established brood emerge in years ahead of the main brood, and sometimes the accelerated group are able to reproduce and create what is essentially a new brood. Brood VI was likely part of Brood X at one point of time1. We’ll have to see if the Brood X stragglers are able to survive predation, and reproduce in significant numbers to sustain future populations. They are certainly trying.”  The exuvia or cast off exoskeleton of the nymph is a nice addition to your submission.

Exuvia of a Periodical Cicada

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

    View all posts
  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

    View all posts

23 thoughts on “Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cicadas? A Quick Guide for Reptile Owners”

  1. Tasty little critters, specially when you can get ’em as they’re hatching. I only got about three or four cups-worth this year, but I was on the NW edge of the big hatch in Missouri. Fry in butter with garlic!

    Reply
  2. Thank you for posting this I saw one of these intriguing moths for the first time Friday and I have been seeing a lot of them since
    At first I thought it was a aqpeppered moth until I realized they live in England (if my memory of my environmental science class is correct) and the wing shape is different.
    Thank you for clearing things up 🙂

    Reply
  3. Thank you for posting this I saw one of these intriguing moths for the first time Friday and I have been seeing a lot of them since
    At first I thought it was a aqpeppered moth until I realized they live in England (if my memory of my environmental science class is correct) and the wing shape is different.
    Thank you for clearing things up 🙂

    Reply
    • We imagine if the nymphs are plentiful enough, and if there are unusual conditions like a drought, it is possible, but not likely.

      Reply
  4. 09/01/2014, Monday-05:00 pm
    Hey!
    Thank you for the info. I told my friends that it was a cicaida not really a moth. I noted the eyes and the straight antanae. It was found by Erica Studebaker Hill on Carolina Island in Wilmington N.C. by the bay. We have many cics singing in our trees at home now. At about 8:30pm, they really crank out. They may sing on and off during the day too. In the southeast of Georgia they will sing all day.
    Back at home near Sylvester Georgia, another insect, the Monarch has really taken to my May-Pops that bloom with the Passion Flower all during the summer and still are doing so.
    The Monarchs’ catepillers will strip some of the Mays and then fly away as butterflies. I also see a white butterfly with strips that go crossways and not up and down as swallow tails have.
    I didn’t recall seeing it until a few years ago.

    In nature, “Never say never!”
    Russ, “The Professor”, Hill

    Reply
  5. 09/01/2014, Monday-05:00 pm
    Hey!
    Thank you for the info. I told my friends that it was a cicaida not really a moth. I noted the eyes and the straight antanae. It was found by Erica Studebaker Hill on Carolina Island in Wilmington N.C. by the bay. We have many cics singing in our trees at home now. At about 8:30pm, they really crank out. They may sing on and off during the day too. In the southeast of Georgia they will sing all day.
    Back at home near Sylvester Georgia, another insect, the Monarch has really taken to my May-Pops that bloom with the Passion Flower all during the summer and still are doing so.
    The Monarchs’ catepillers will strip some of the Mays and then fly away as butterflies. I also see a white butterfly with strips that go crossways and not up and down as swallow tails have.
    I didn’t recall seeing it until a few years ago.

    In nature, “Never say never!”
    Russ, “The Professor”, Hill

    Reply
  6. Thanx for all you do. I love when someone at work asks, do you know what kind of bug this is? And I smile and say yes WTB posted it , it’s a … The photos and ID’s help a lot. So thanx again J

    Reply
  7. Your wonderful site allowed me to identify a House Centipede. Sadly, I did kill a few (They are scary looking) before I came across your wonderful site, but now they live here in complete and utter freedom.

    Thank YOU for running such a fantastic site! 😀 Keep up the great work, WhatsThatBug.com!

    Reply
  8. I love uour site and have been using it ever since I moved to Florida and have needed to identify interesting creatures. I think you provide a great service and i iften visit just to read up on different bugs for the fun of it. Keep up the great work 🙂

    Reply
  9. I found one of these quite leopard moths about a month ago in Falmouth, MA. I thought for sure it was some type of albino cicada! Nope, after using Google lense, I discovered it was a moth, but still one of the coolest bugs I’ve ever seen. I have a photo of it as my phone wallpaper now.

    Kevin

    Reply

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