Cicada Exoskeletons

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I found these bug casings on a painted pillar outside my front door today. They were stuck to it as if they really sank their claws in while exiting their shells. My wife thought they were bees because of the stripes on their abdomen. They also have some pretty mean looking claws. They are about one inch long, maybe a little less. What the heck are they? We live in Redding, (northern) California. Also, we leave the porch light on at night and they were found a few feet below the bulb. Thanks,
Mike Sawyer

Hi Mike,
These are the cast off exoskeletons of Cicadas. Larval Cicadas live underground. When they are ready to mature, they claw their way to the surface, shed their exoskeletons, and become winged adults.

2 thoughts on “Cicada Exoskeletons”

  1. Although I am not a bug expert, I too found this exoskeleton today but as I’ve researched the web I really think that this is from a horsefly. I especially think it is because I saw one that was alive just yesterday.

    • We are not experts either, but the exuviae in the image are definitely Cicadas. Horse Flies which undergo complete metamorphosis emerge from a pupa, not from a nymph. We acknowledge that internet research is often flawed because anyone can claim just about anything on the world wide web. As your comment that you “researched the web” is not accompanied by any links documenting your findings, we cannot conclude anything other than that you are wrong and that our identification is correct.


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