Currently viewing the category: "Cicadas"

Subject:  Wtf is this?!?
Geographic location of the bug:  New Orleans, LA
Date: 08/25/2018
Time: 01:27 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this alien on my cactus pot. It looks like it has antenna coming from the top and is about 1 inch wide. I’ve never seen anything like it.
How you want your letter signed:  Chris

Head of a Cicada

Dear Chris,
This is the head of a Cicada, and we have several images in our archives of decapitated Cicada heads.  Our best educated guess is that a bird or some other predator fed on the fatty body of the Cicada, and neglected to eat the hard and not especially nutritious head.

Subject:  Jade Color Cicada Nymph?
Geographic location of the bug:  Agoura Hills, CA
Date: 08/18/2018
Time: 01:12 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  While digging for some sprinkler connection changes, we turned over this very unusual colored critter.  It is about 3/4 inch long.  It looks similar to a reference in WTB from Idaho to a cicada nymph.
How you want your letter signed:  Mike

Cicada Nymph

Dear Mike,
Like the Cicada nymph from Idaho in our archives, and the individual posted to BugGuide, we believe your Cicada nymph is in the genus 
PlatypediaBugGuide lists California as part of the range for the genus.  In his book Insects of the Los Angeles Basin, Charles Hogue indicates that the Wide Headed Cicada, Platypedia laticapitata, is found locally, and though BugGuide does not have any records of that species, there is a posting from Agoura Hills on BugGuide that questions that identity.

Cicada Nymph

Thank you much!  It was such an unusual color that it really was striking.

Subject:  Large Green Fly?
Geographic location of the bug:  Brooklin, Ontario, Canada
Date: 08/16/2018
Time: 11:37 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This giant was just happily sitting on the wall outside of my son’s daycare.
He was HUGE! At least 2 inches tall. What was it?
How you want your letter signed:  JS

Dog Day Harvestfly

Dear JS,
Though it is commonly called a Dog Day Harvestfly because of its end of summer flight time and because it resembles a giant fly, the Annual Cicada is not a true fly.  Cicadas are also well known because of the cacophony they produce from tree tops.

Lovely! Thank you Daniel! 🙂

Ed. Note:  There has been some chatter on Facebook accusing us of making up the common name Dog Day Harvestfly.  According to BugGuide, of the genus Neotibicen:  The name ‘Dog Day Cicada’ is most often applied in particular to Neotibicen (Tibicen) canicularis. Other common names encountered:  Harvestflies, Dryflies, Jarflies.”  BugGuide also note on the page for :  “Other Common Names Dogday Harvestfly, Harvestfly, Northern Dog-Day Cicada, & Common Dog-Day Cicada” with the explanation “DOG-DAY: a reference to the hot ‘dog days’ of late summer when this species is heard singing; at this time in the northern hemisphere the Dog Star (Sirius) is above the horizon in the Big Dog constellation (Canis Major).  NOTE: Dog-days of summer indeed do refer to Sirius, the dog star, and although it is above the horizon, it is not visible in summer in the northern hemisphere. This is because it is up during the daytime. Canis major is a “winter” constellation. Canis Major CANICULARIS: from the Latin ‘canicula’ (a little dog, the Dog Star, Sirius) HARVESTFLY: another reference to the late season song of this species, heard during harvest time.”

Subject:  Unknown insect
Geographic location of the bug:  Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah
Date: 08/12/2018
Time: 12:31 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found while doing trail work.  Seemed to be secreting a substance out of its back while being handled.
How you want your letter signed:  Thank-you! Ryan

Cicada Nymph

Dear Ryan,
This is a Cicada nymph and you did not indicate if it was dug up while doing trail work or if it was found on the surface.  It appears there is a crack in its exoskeleton, an injury that might have occurred if it was dug up.  The substance may have been its vital fluids “bleeding” from the injury.  We suspect this is a mortal injury.  Cicada nymphs live for several years underground feeding from plant roots, but as they near maturity, they dig to the surface, molt for the last time and emerge as winged adult Cicadas.

Cicada Nymph

Subject:  I sect I’d help #1
Geographic location of the bug:  Greenport Suffolk county NY
Date: 08/12/2018
Time: 04:32 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi rhere,
My friend took a picture of this near her job. I tried so hard to identify this but I cant. I think it’s on a sycamore tree, looking at the bark.  The best I had was cicada killer but I don’t thi k that’s it. Its driving me crazy, please help me.
Thank you so much,
How you want your letter signed:  Ann in Long Beach

Cicada Killer and Annual Cicada

Dear Ann,
Despite the very poor quality of your friend’s image, this is definitely a Cicada Killer and prey, and due to the dearth of nice images of Cicada Killers we have received this year (and half of them were dead), we are thrilled to post your friend’s image of a live Cicada Killer doing what earned it its common name.  Annual Cicadas are often much larger than the Cicada Killer and that makes it quite difficult for the Cicada Killer to take off from the ground with such a heavy payload, so the Cicada Killer has adapted to climb trees and other vertical features so it can take off from a good height and glide back toward the nest.

Hi daniel,
I asked her to email the origi al to me. I’m s
Waiting. You have made me so excited!I’ll share this with my scie ce class too in the fall.
Glad we could help Ann.
P.S.  We don’t correct grammar, misspellings or other errors on identification requests.  Typing quickly on portable devices often leads to all three.
Hi Daniel,
This is the original Cicada killer image at 2.4MB its much larger.  Her name is Margaret Lanza.  Exact location Bohemia,NY near Islip airport
Please let me know that you received this.
Best Regards,
Ann Smith

Cicada Killer with Annual Cicada

Hi Ann,
Thanks for providing the higher resolution image, but alas, there is some camera shake so the image is not critically sharp, but it is still much better than the original file you submitted.  At least now both the Cicada Killer and the Annual Cicada are plainly recognizable.

Subject:  Please help identify
Geographic location of the bug:  Cleveland, OH
Date: 08/08/2018
Time: 02:44 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Walked across my patio on a hot August day. Thought it was a small crayfish from pond behind my house. Pretty sure it’s a big though
How you want your letter signed:  Greg M

Annual Cicada Nymph

Dear Greg M,
This is an Annual Cicada Nymph.  It has been living underground for several years feeding from plant roots.  Now that it has neared maturity, it has used its front legs to dig to the surface where it will molt and end its life as a winged adult Annual Cicada or Dog Day Harvestfly, one of the loudest of the summer insects.  It might become prey to a Cicada Killer.

You are awesome! Thank you very much.