Katydid vs Cicada: Unveiling Their Differences & Intriguing Facts

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Katydids and cicadas are two fascinating groups of insects that are often confused due to their similar appearances and the loud mating calls they produce. However, these insects are quite different from each other in several aspects. Understanding their distinctive features will help you recognize them and appreciate their roles in their respective ecosystems.

Katydids, belonging to the order Orthoptera, are related to grasshoppers and crickets, with about 6,400 species worldwide. They are mostly green in color and can be found in areas with deciduous trees, parks, and yards. On the other hand, cicadas belong to the order Hemiptera and can be identified by their large wings, prominent veins, and small antennae. Cicadas can be found in either annual or periodical forms, with the latter emerging every 13 or 17 years as evident from Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

While both of these insects produce loud sounds for mating purposes, they use different mechanisms. Male katydids produce sound by rubbing their wings together, whereas male cicadas use a specialized membrane on their bodies.

Katydid and Cicada Basics

General Appearance


  • Long and slender shape
  • Long antennae
  • Green or brown color, often resembling leaves
  • Four wings, held like a roof over the body


  • Stout body, 1-1.5 inches long
  • Short antennae
  • Green or brown color with black markings
  • Four clear, fly-like wings, folded like a tent over the body

Habitat and Range


  • Found in various environments such as forests, meadows, and gardens
  • Mainly nocturnal, actively feeding and singing during the night
  • About 6,400 species worldwide, with differing habitats depending on the species (source)


  • Found worldwide, inhabiting trees and other vegetation
  • Can be heard singing during day and night
  • Over 3,000 species, some emerging every 13 or 17 years (source)
Feature Katydid Cicada
Shape Long and slender Stout
Antennae Long Short
Wings Like a roof over the body Like a tent over the body
Active period Mainly nocturnal Both day and night
Number of species Around 6,400 Over 3,000
Emergence schedule Varies by species Some emerge every 13-17 years

Physical Characteristics

Katydids are a large group of insects in the order Orthoptera, closely related to grasshoppers and crickets. They are typically green in color, but some species can be found in shades of red, brown, blue, or even pink, yellow, and orange. Their most distinctive feature is their long antennae which help differentiate them from grasshoppers and crickets 1.

Cicadas, however, belong to a different order called Hemiptera. They usually have a green or brown body, with black markings. Cicadas are characterized by short antennae and four transparent wings which are much longer than their abdomen 2.

Here is a comparison table highlighting the main differences between katydids and cicadas:

Feature Katydids Cicadas
Order Orthoptera Hemiptera
Color Green, red, brown, blue Green, brown
Wings Long, green Transparent, longer than abdomen
Antennae Long Short

Katydids have oblong-shaped wings that resemble leaves, providing them excellent camouflage in their environment. This helps them blend in with their surroundings, making it difficult for predators to spot them 3.

On the other hand, cicadas possess transparent wings folded over their back, resembling a tent, which contributes to their distinct appearance 4.

The eyes of both insects are typically large, though katydids have rounded eyes whereas cicadas have more protruding eyes.

In terms of mouth, katydids have chewing mouthparts, whereas cicadas are equipped with piercing and sucking mouthparts 5.

Key features of katydids:

  • Green, leaf-like wings
  • Long antennae
  • Chewing mouthparts

Key features of cicadas:

  • Transparent wings
  • Short antennae
  • Piercing and sucking mouthparts

Sounds and Songs

Katydids and cicadas are both known for their distinct sounds. They use these sounds for communication, primarily during mating season.

Katydids: The song of a katydid is usually a high-pitched, raspy, and halting sound. It’s often described as a “katy-did, katy-didn’t” call from high up in trees1. An example of a katydid species found in Missouri is the Common true katydid (Pterophylla camellifolia).

Cicadas: Cicada songs are more of a rattling noise. Male cicadas produce the sound using a structure called a tymbal. The hollow abdomen helps amplify the noise2. For example, the periodical cicada creates a sound similar to a child’s wooden rattle.

Feature Katydid Cicada
Sound High-pitched, raspy, halting Rattling
Purpose Communication, primarily for mating Communication, primarily for mating
Example Common true katydid Periodical cicada

In summary, katydids and cicadas both create unique sounds for communication purposes, with katydids making high-pitched, halting sounds, and cicadas producing rattling noises.

Behavior and Life Cycle


  • Periodical cicadas have a unique 13 or 17-year life cycle with most of their lives spent underground.
  • They emerge as adults in the summer to mate. Females lay eggs in tree branches.
  • Eggs hatch in 6-7 weeks and nymphs fall to the ground, burrow into the soil, and feed on tree roots.
  • They are mainly found in North America.


  • Katydids have a much shorter life cycle, completing it within a single season.
  • Mating takes place in late summer to early fall. Females lay eggs on leaves or stems.
  • Nymphs hatch in spring, and the entire population dies off in the fall.
  • They are more common in tropical regions.

Comparison Table:

Cicadas Katydids
Life Cycle 13 or 17 years 1 season
Mating Summer Late summer to early fall
Eggs Tree branches Leaves or stems
Nymphs Underground feeding Above ground, similar to adults
Location North America Tropical regions

Reproduction and Growth

Katydids are fascinating creatures known for their leaf-like appearance and nocturnal behaviors. Their reproduction process involves males producing a loud call to attract females by rubbing their wings together. Female katydids deposit eggs onto leaves or plants, which hatch into nymphs after several weeks. Found in various locations, including North Carolina, they can sometimes damage crops or plant life.

Here are some characteristics of katydids:

  • Leaf-like appearance
  • Nocturnal behavior
  • Males call females by rubbing wings together
  • Eggs are laid on leaves or plants
  • Nymphs emerge after a few weeks

Cicadas are also unique insects, with some periodical cicadas emerging every 13 or 17 years. Males produce a loud song by vibrating membranes on their body to attract females. Female cicadas lay eggs inside tree branches, which hatch into nymphs that fall to the ground and burrow into the soil to begin their life cycle.

Cicadas have these distinctive features:

  • Males sing to attract females
  • Females lay eggs inside tree branches
  • Nymphs fall to the ground and burrow into the soil

When comparing katydids and cicadas, we can consider the following table:

Aspect Katydids Cicadas
Reproduction Males call by rubbing wings Males sing by vibrating membranes
Egg laying On leaves or plants Inside tree branches
Nymph habitat On or near host plant or leaves Underground in soil
Impact on crops Can damage crops and plants Limited effect on plant life

Comparison and Differences

Katydids and cicadas are two distinct species of insects that are often confused due to their similar appearance and behaviors. However, they have several differences that set them apart:

Body and Wings

  • Katydids: Long and slender shape, often green or camouflaged; wings fold over the body like a leaf. Example
  • Cicadas: Stout body with green or brown color and black markings; large and thick-veined wings which fold like a tent. Example

Sound Production

  • Katydids: Produce sound using specialized organs called stridulation; similar to crickets and grasshoppers.
  • Cicadas: Create sound through tymbals, a unique membrane on the sides of their body. Periodical cicadas are especially known for their loud mating songs.

Life Cycles

  • Katydids: Generally have a one-year life cycle, with nymphs resembling adults except for their wings.
  • Cicadas: Can have either long life cycles like the 13 or 17-year periodical cicadas or shorter ones like the annual (dog-day) cicadas. Nymphs spend time underground before emerging as adults. Example
Comparison Table
Feature Katydids Cicadas
Sound Stridulation Tymbals
Body Shape Long, slender Stout
Wings Fold like a leaf Fold like a tent
Life Cycle One year Varies (Annual or Periodical)

In summary:

  • Katydids are more like crickets and grasshoppers, while cicadas are a different group.
  • Specialized organs for sound production differ between the species: stridulation in katydids and tymbals in cicadas.
  • The two insects have distinct body shapes and wing types, providing some level of camouflage in their natural environments.

Annual vs Periodical Cicadas

Annual cicadas appear every year, while periodical cicadas emerge in cycles of 13 or 17 years1. Both types of cicadas have unique features and behaviors.

Annual Cicadas:

  • Larger in size2
  • Different species have distinct calls and call at different times of day2

Periodical Cicadas:

  • Emerge in massive numbers1
  • Males “sing” by vibrating a membrane on their bodies1

Comparing Annual and Periodical Cicadas

Feature Annual Cicada Periodical Cicada
Life Cycle Every year4 13 or 17 years1
Size Larger2 Smaller
Mating Call Varies by species2 Vibrating membrane1


  1. Scissor grinder cicadas and buzz saw cicadas are distinctive species of annual cicadas2.
  2. Periodical cicadas emerged in 2021 in Washington, DC, and 15 states in the Eastern United States to mate and lay eggs1.

Notable Characteristics

  • Cicada nymphs crawl out of the ground and grab onto a nearby plant4
  • The back of their exoskeleton splits open, and the winged adult emerges4

Pros and Cons of Cicadas


  • Natural indicator of ecosystem health1
  • An interesting part of our natural world


  • Can cause damage to young trees when laying eggs3
  • Loud noise might be annoying to some people

Ecosystem Impact:

Rain can cause cicadas to emerge from the soil4, while air friction affects the songs created by both types of cicadas.

Impact on Humans and Environment

Cicadas and katydids are two types of insects that have distinctive appearances, behaviors, and impacts on humans and the environment.



  • Plant-eating insects, part of cricket and grasshopper family
  • Buzz, trill, and chirp in the summer night insect chorus
  • Camouflaged, blend into their environment
Feature Cicadas Katydids
Impact on humans Harmless, but produce loud sounds Harmless, contribute to nighttime sounds
Environmental impact Negligible on gardens & crops Plant-eating insects
Range/location North American, periodical & annual North American, typically nocturnal
Sound Staccato sound, used for mating calls Buzz, trill, and chirp in insect chorus

Cicadas are often compared to locusts, but they’re not the same. Locusts are a type of grasshopper, while cicadas belong to a different insect order. The staccato sound produced by cicadas is generally louder and more noticeable than the noises made by katydids. In the case of periodical cicadas, their mass emergence can be an impressive natural event. However, they have a limited impact on humans and the environment.


  1. https://hort.extension.wisc.edu/articles/katydids/ 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

  2. https://extension.umn.edu/yard-and-garden-insects/cicadas 2 3 4 5 6 7

  3. https://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/common-true-katydid 2

  4. https://extension.umn.edu/yard-and-garden-insects/cicadas 2 3 4 5

  5. https://www.thoughtco.com/difference-between-cicadas-and-katydids-1968528

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 – Cedar Beetle: New species to WTB?


Mystery Beetle with fan-like antennae
Location: Central Ohio (in October)
October 25, 2011 3:29 pm
Hi! I found this bug while walking down the street and didn’t know what it was. It has very interesting antennae and seems like it should be fairly easy to identify but I cannot find it anywhere. I was just wondering if you could help me out. Thanks for your help!
Signature: Hannah

Cedar Beetle

Hi Hannah,
We looked at your photo last night and decided your entry would most likely take us some time to research, so we postponed until morning when our staff is fresh.  At first glance we thought this was some species of Scarab Beetle, but searching BugGuide proved fruitless.  We expanded the search to related families and we finally discovered the Cicada Parasite Beetles or Cedar Beetles in the genus
Sandalus, a new genus for our site, and the family RhipiceridaeAccording to BugGuide:  “Adults active primarily from Aug to Oct” and “Adults apparently do not feed.”  The most interesting information on BugGuide is “Species undergo hypermetamorphosis and are ectoparasitoids of nymphal cicadas (1) Species are infrequent to rare. (2) When encountered, often found in large numbers during the day, indicating that a pheromone was used. (1)  On one day in late September, near Bloomington, Ind., 12 specimens were collected on hickory trunks or in flight in just 1 hour. Collecting at the same time in the same place during previous years had yielded no specimens. It is likely that these beetles were parasites on the brood of periodical cicadas which had emerged the previous year. (2)  Rings (1942) recorded 16,846 eggs from a single female S. niger.”  We thought we would need to create a new category for our new species, but upon searching our own archives, we discovered this posting of a Feather Horned Beetle from Australia, also in the family Rhipiceridae.  In that particular posting, we wrote:  “If the closest relatives found in North America (see BugGuide) are known as Cicada Parasite Beetles, it might be deduced that the same might be true of the Australian members of the family since Australia has such a robust population of Cicadas.”  Thanks for sending us your photo and for starting our day with some exciting revelations.

Letter 2 – Cicada from San Jose, California


Subject: Flying Bug
Location: San Jose, California
March 30, 2014 10:59 pm
We found this bug on our car in San Jose Ca. On March 19th 2014 around mid day. It stayed on our car as we drove to the store. It finally left our car after we drove to another store. It did not move as we opened and closed the door it was on.
Any info would be great. Thank you.
Signature: Mike


Hi Mike,
This is a Cicada, a member of a family of insects that are often mistaken for large flies.  Though your images are all out of focus and lacking in critical detail, we believe your Cicada is in the genus
Platypedia based on this photo posted to BugGuide.

Letter 3 – Cicada Nymph in British Columbia, Canada


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.
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,

Letter 4 – Cicada Nymph from Southern California


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.

Letter 5 – Cicada Nymph from Taiwan


Subject:  Dusty wanderer
Geographic location of the bug:  Taiwan (mountains)
Date: 07/11/2018
Time: 11:24 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This grandpa stumbled into our room one July night. Looks like he has crab-like pincers. About 6 cm long. He is covered in a kind of bug-dandruff. What is he, and what is with the crusty covering? Bad hygiene?  Parasites?
How you want your letter signed:  Luuk

Cicada Nymph

Dear Luuk,
This is a Cicada nymph.  Immature Cicadas live underground for several years (up to 17 in the case of the North American Periodical Cicada) where they feed from roots.  As they near maturity, they dig to the surface and molt for the final time, emerging as winged adult Cicadas.  The crusty covering is dried dirt that will be shed during molting.

Thank you so much! You were, of course, totally right. I found an empty husk and a dazed, brand new cicada sitting on my table this morning. Too bad I missed the molting and did not see him emerge. Insects are amazing and wonderful!
Luuk from Taiwan

Letter 6 – Cicada: Tibicen dorsata


What’s this bug?
Hi, new homeowner here who is marvelling at the variety of bugs I’m finding around my new house in Dallas, TX. Can you help me identify this bug.

Hi Scott,
We found a match for your Cicada on Bugguide. It is Tibicen dorsata and it is a new species for our site.

Letter 7 – Cicada Skin


Mysterious empty bug??
I’m a frequent visitor to your site. I absolutely love it! soo cooool.
I was going through some camping pictures when I found this picture that I took last year. Me and my friends could not tell whether it was alive or not, and were kinda grossed out by it because it was quite large. I thought it was alive because it was still hanging on to the tree. And although the picture I’m attaching shows the bug horizontally, it was vertical. My friend tried testing if it was alive or not by poking it with a stick. what resulted was a "CRUNCH" and the bug seemed to … collapse, as if hollow inside. We speculated that maybe it was a shedding of a bug that was left behind. but I have no idea whether bugs "shed" or not. Maybe the bug died, and all of its insides decomposed?? do you know what bug it is and why it was seemingly empty inside?
Brenda from Ontario.

Hi Brenda,
This is a Cicada Skin. When the immature Cicada, which lives underground, is ready to metamorphose into a winged adult, it digs to the surface, climbs up a tree or other vertical surface, and splits its skin, freeing the winged adult.

Letter 8 – Cicada Skin and House Centipede named Bob


odd little creature that creeps me out.
I have found your site very useful and thought of you first when I found this at the bottom of my stairs that leads down off my deck. When I went to get my camera I saw another one. And yes, It creeps me out beyond belief. But Im just leaving them there hoping they will go away 😀 I would have measured it for you, but I could barely get close enough to take a picture. My best guess is that its around an ince long. And its got these huge brown marble like eyes. anyhow, here is about a million and 5 pictures of it. and for good measure, Here is my picture of a house centipede. 😀 (you get so many of them. And thanks to you, I knew what it was. Ive since named him bob.)
Thank you much for all your help

Cicada Skin House Centipede named Bob

Hi Mikie,
Your creepy critter is a Cicada skin. Nymphs live underground where they feed of the sap in tree roots. When it is time to grow up, they burrow to the surface, climb a stump or fence, split their skins and depart winged adults. They are probably making a buzzing racket in your trees right now. Adults look like enormous flies. Thanks for giving Bob a name. We don’t know about your snails.

Letter 9 – Cicada Skins


What bugs is this?
Found these in a garden in the North Quabbin Area of Franklin County, MA. These things are everywhere and we cannot seem to figure out what they are or how to get rid of them.

Hi Phillip,
This is a skin from a Cicada. Cicada nymphs live underground and feed off of the sap from tree roots. They then dig to the surface, split their skins for the final time and emerge as winged adults. They are probably buzzing in your trees now. Sorry we have no erradication advice.

Letter 10 – Cicada Skin


Bug against the house
Found this guy next to the back door. It’s around 2 inches long, I believe. Didn’t want to get too close. What kind of bug is it? I’m located in Garland, TX. I’m within the Dallas metro area.
Thanks much!

Hi Olga,
You have sent in a discarded skin from a Cicada. These large fly-like insects spend their nymph stage underground sucking nourishment from the roots of trees. Then they emerge from the underground, shed their skins and fly away. They make a loud buzzing noise in the hot days of summer. Some species, known as Periodical Cicadas or 17 Year Locusts, spend 17 years underground and emerge in great numbers, creating a deafing chorus. This year was the notorious Brood X year and large numbers of Cicadas were found in many eastern cities. Your specimen is probably one of the Annual Cicadas.

Thank you so very much for your response. I appreciate it very much. It was very kind of you.

Letter 11 – Cicada: Tibicen pronotalis


We found this cicada in our backyard of Eastern OK. It was yellow & orange with black. My husband thought it was that commonly seen Grand Western Cicada but I am not convinced. Any thoughts? Thank you.
Art & Cricket Wing

Hi Art and Cricket,
This sure looks to us like Tibicen pronotalis, a Cicada with no common name.

Letter 12 – Benefit for Brown Bats: Silver Cicada Jewelry


Silver Cicada
Location: Upstate NY
Website: http://www.kskjewelrydesigns.etsy.com
November 14, 2011 7:36 pm
First let me start off by saying I love your site. I frequently use it to identify insects and ’bugs’ in attempt to educate my neighbourhood.
Now to the meat. My wife makes fine silver jewelry and often moulds dead insects we find exploring our world, creating some stunning pieces if I do say so myself 🙂 I thought you might be interested in her work and if you liked it maybe you’d consider some free advertising in the form of a post!
If the subject seemed misleading, I aplogize. Thanks for all you do.
Signature: Chris, husband in charge of marketing

Cicada Jewelry

OK Chris,
WE cannot resist the urge to be a bit catty, but it is all in good fun.  Does the jeweler have a name, or is she just your wife?  Do prospective buyers rub their cellular telephones over our posting to order a necklace or do you have a web site?  Daniel would love a Toe-Biter belt buckle.

Oh dear… Sorry ’bout that, (insert space-case excuse here). My wife’s name is Kim Kaye. She’s been making jewelry for a long time and recently decided to make a go at it. She mixes silver with insects, bones (found only) and semi-precious stones to make some pretty nifty things. Her website is http://www.etsy.com/shop/kskjewelrydesigns . A portion of her sales go towards fighting white nose syndrome, which has devastated New York’s small brown bat population.
And now I’m off to go check the air pressure in my head (I may be bald, but I’m still blonde 🙂 )
Thanks again for everything you guys do!

We fully endorse the Bat Benefit.

Silver Cicada Feature -Thank You
Website: http://www.kskjewelrydesigns.etsy.com
November 23, 2011 5:36 pm
Hello! Last week, my husband Chris submitted a photo of my Silver Cicada Necklace, and you very kindly featured it with a link to my shop as well as the information about my bat donations. I just want to thank you for the wonderful exposure, both for my jewelry and for the struggle against White-nose Syndrome. I’ve received many visits directly from WTB, and it’s nice knowing that others who appreciate insects and maybe bats too are taking a peek!
I also thought you might like to know that the cicada necklace has sold, but I do have a few other insect pieces and hope to continue adding more. One very ambitious plan will involve molding a praying mantis we found, a natural death as always. I have no experience making belt buckles, but if Daniel is serious about the Toe-Biter, I’m certainly willing to give it a shot provided we come across one! 🙂
Thanks so much again,
Signature: Kimberley Kaye

Hi Kimberley,
Thanks for the update and additional information.  We don’t know how long we will be able to keep your advertisement as a feature, but we also have it archived on our Giftshop tag, though we really don’t have anything else in the Giftshop.  We keep thinking we need T-Shirts or something there, but there never seems to be enough time to embark on such endeavors.  We apologize for neglecting to make your website notice a live link.  We just noticed that on this update.  Hopefully you will get even more traffic from What’s That Bug? now that there is a live link.  If that Toe-Biter belt buckle becomes available, please let us know.

Letter 13 – Cicada rides turtle sculpture!!!


Subject: Giant wierd bug
Location: Grantham, NH
August 1, 2012 8:11 pm
Found this on our fake turtle. The bug was about 1 inch long. It was scary looking. What is it? It died a day later.
Signature: Tony

Dogday Harvestfly

Hi Tony,
This hitchhiker is a Cicada in the genus
Tibicen.  We believe it is the Dogday Cicada or Dogday Harvestfly, Tibicen canicularis, based on comparing the markings on the head and thorax with this image on BugGuide.  If you would like some very detailed and specific information, turn to BugGuide.  The loud grinding call of the Dogday Harvestfly is a common summer sound throughout much of its range.

Dogday Harvestfly


Letter 14 – Cicada Nymph


Subject: Bug Question
Location: Columbus, OH
August 6, 2012 12:56 pm
Hi Bugman!
I’ve been scouring the ’Net trying to identify this bug, which looks to me to be a type of beetle, but isn’t showing up on any searches.
It was late at night and he was crawling aimlessly around for hours in the same area just outside our house.
It’s summer, and this was a particularly humid night. He was cream-colored on his back with a distinctive dark brown mask-like pattern on his back.
Signature: Ohiobug

Cicada Nymph

Dear Ohiobug,
This is the nymph of a Cicada.  It has been living underground for several years.  It has just made its way to the surface in preparation for its metamorphosis into a winged adult Cicada.

Letter 15 – Cicada from South Africa: New Unnamed Species? or Orange Wing Cicada


Subject: Possible Deaths Head Hawk Moth?
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
December 26, 2013 12:08 am
I found this moth last night after investigating a very loud screeching sound in my house. Turns out that it was this moth. Looks similar to a Deaths Head Hawk Moth, but not sure as markings seem different from what I have seen online.
Your views?
Signature: Ryan

Cicada:  Is this the newly discovered species????

Hi Ryan,
This is not a moth, but rather, a Cicada.  Cicadas are capable of making sounds which would explain the loud screeching you heard.  We typically see photos of Cicadas with clear wings, so this individual with its forewing markings (that do resemble the wings of a Death’s Head Hawkmoth) and brightly colored underwings is quite distinctive.  We did not think it would be difficult to identify to the species level, and we did find matching images on the Photographs from South Africa website, however, the Cicada is not identified to the species level.  Continued research led us to a matching photo on the Wildlife Extra News site with the subject 18 New Species of Invertebrate Discovered in South Africa.  The photo is captioned:  “A cicada currently in the process of being named and described. Photo credit Earthwatch.”  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to find more current information on the name of this unusual Cicada.

Hi there,
Many thanks for the fast and informative response! Cicada was my second option, but didn’t think so due to the wings.
Very cool to experience something that unusual flying into my house twice on the same evening 🙂

Update:  Possibly Orange Wing Cicada
Thanks to a comment to this posting, we now believe this may be an Orange Wing Cicada in the genus Platypleura.  There are photos posted to ISpot that look very similar to the Orange Wing Cicada.

Letter 16 – Cicada Nymph excites child’s curiosity


Subject: My 7 year old son is so excited to find out what these are…me, not so much! Lol!
Location: Long Island, New York
June 24, 2014 8:27 pm
Hello Bugman,
While digging in our garden my 7 yr old son yelled out in excitement at these large bugs he found. He was so cute-he thought he found a new species and wanted to send these pics to a science museum! When I told him about your website he was ecstatic.
So-they were found buried in the dirt, found today June 24 on Long Island New York, they are about 2-3 inches??
Thank you!!!!!!
Signature: Curious nature buff’s mon

Cicada Nymph
Cicada Nymph

Dear Curious nature buff’s mom,
We hope you are a mom and not a mon.  This is a Cicada Nymph, but sadly, we don’t have the necessary entomological skills to identify it to the species level.  Cicadas are winged insects that are often mistaken for large flies, but they are most familiar to the average person because of the loud sounds they produce, often from the tops of trees during the summer months.  We cannot say for certain if this is the nymph of an Annual Cicada like a Dog Day Harvestfly, or if it is the nymph of a Periodical Cicada or Seventeen Year Locust.  Cicada Nymphs remain underground feeding from the roots of plants for several years, and in the case of the Periodical Cicadas, the nymphs are underground for seventeen years with the adults emerging, often in great numbers.  North America has 17 viable, identified broods of Periodical Cicadas and you can find additional information on the Magicicada website.  According to the map on the Magicicada site, New York is in the range of three of the broods, with Brood VII next expected in 2018, Brood X next expected in 2021 and Brood XIV next expected in 2025.  Alas, we don’t have much advice for keeping this Cicada Nymph alive now that it has been dug up and separated from its food source.  Cicadas have mouths designed to pierce so they can suck nourishment from the roots as opposed to chewing them.  They must feed from living plants.

Cicada Nymph
Cicada Nymph

Thank You! I can’t wait for my son to get home from school he’ll be so excited to have received this response! You’re awesome!
And yes-I’m a severely sleep deprived MOM of 3 not a mon-lol!
Thanks again for your time it is much appreciated


Letter 17 – Cicada Nymph from point unknown


Subject: need help identifying
Location: in gound
May 1, 2015 5:43 am
found this bug digging around our sheds. at first i thought it might be a termite but they are translucent and rather long relative to their size. this bug is neither.
Signature: Penny

Cicada Nymph
Cicada Nymph

Dear Penny,
We would love to know if you found this Cicada Nymph in the ground in South Africa, South Carolina, South America or some other location.

Cicada Nymph
Cicada Nymph

Letter 18 – Cicada from South Korea


Subject: South Korean insect
Location: Yongin, South Korea
August 11, 2017 9:26 am
Location: Yongin, South Korea (near Seoul).
Date: 11th of August 2017
Weather: Hot and humid (about 30 degrees Celsius)
I found this insect lying on its back on the outside of my hotel. The hotel is in urban area but there are small parks with ponds nearby.
When I turned it around it did not fly away but tried to climb the marble outer wall of the hotel. It lost grip (again ?) and fell back to the helpless position in which I spotted it the first time.
I held out my finger. It grabbed them and I set it into a small bush.
It did not move, just held on. Had no visible damage but seemed stunned or poisoned.
Did not try to fly a single time.
After 10 minutes it was still there. When I checked after one hour it was gone.
Hope it survived
Signature: Hertha


Dear Hertha,
The green veined, black wings on this Cicada are beautiful.  We are attempting to identify the species for you. We are tagging your submission with the Bug Humanitarian award.


Dear Daniel,
thank you for the quick answer and your efforts to find out the species.

Letter 19 – Cicada Nymph from Canada


Subject: What is this thing?
Location: Eastern Ontario
August 21, 2017 1:46 pm
Was at an artshow in Kingston, Ontario and found this guy crawling on the outside of the tent. Not a clue what he is but he startled me when I saw him.
He was a couple of inches in size and was completely unrecognizable to me.
Signature: Chris

Cicada Nymph

Dear Chris,
This is a Cicada nymph, and it has been living underground, feeding from plant roots for several years.  As it nears maturity, it digs to the surface, and will soon molt and emerge as a winged adult Cicada.

Letter 20 – Cicada Rescued from Pool in Canada


Subject:  Nice specimen
Geographic location of the bug:  Gatineau, quebec canada, september
Date: 10/25/2019
Time: 09:06 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found this specimen in my pool when I noticed a lot of splashing. Seems it drops from my tree because of wind. Had a little mouth and big eyes.
How you want your letter signed:  Pat

Cicada Rescued from Pool

Dear Pat,
We were going to comment that this is a very late season sighting of a Cicada, and we realized you shot the image in September.  We do not recognize your Cicada.  It is quite dark in color, but we suspect it is one of the Annual Cicadas in the genus
Neotibicen which is well represented on BugGuide.  Because of your kindness in preventing this individual from drowning, we are tagging this posting with the Bug Humanitarian Award.



  • 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.

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  • 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.

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Tags: Cicadas

Related Posts

21 Comments. Leave new

  • Hi I am from the UK and found last night the Cicada Parasite Beetle in my garden, I love all sorts of bugs and never seen one before in the UK, Having doing a search for this feathered beetle I came across this site and pleased to have taken a photo not very good but its a photo time taken the picture was 11:15 pm .. Just wanted to shout out Hi we in the UK have the same Cicada Parasite Beetle in the UK.

    God Bless

  • I found two of these in my drive last night. I live in Oklahoma, the temp this time of year is 90’s-100’s. Very intresting to see, my little boy loved them. I hope we get to see more of them. What do they eat? Also, they hissed.

    • According to BugGuide: “Adults active primarily from Aug to Oct” and “Adults apparently do not feed.”

  • I’m pretty sure this cicada is an orange-wing cicada of the genus Platypleura.

  • Having grown up in the Texas Panhandle and now living in San Jose, I am familiar with the Eastern variety of cicada. But after living at this address for the last 15 years we started seeing small tufts of up-turned sod in our backyard and then the occasional small cicada-looking chrysalis. Now in April we are starting to see the actual brownish (not greenish) winged insects which appear to have inhabited those chrysali (sp?). They are about an inch in length from head to wing tip. Are they cicadas, are they related to the appearance of tufts of sod, and is there anything we should do about them in terms of our landscaping? I can try to furnish a photo if it would help. Thanks.

    • Without an image, it is impossible to be certain, though many western species of Cicadas are quite small.

  • Does anyone know where we could buy 10 brooding females, and mates for them at? We have a massive cicada problem, they have been allowed to take over the land, and our 10 acre farm’s trees have been annihilated by cicada. If anyone knows where we could start up a good colony of them, please let us know. We are in zone 5b-6a, and would love to do some annihilating of cicadas.

  • My brother-in-law found this in south Texas, on the Mexican border on one of his trees. Is this a cedar beetle? Does it harm trees?

  • Sorry. I was not able to send pic. I will keep trying. In the meantime, it is about an inch long, orange with black spots.

  • I’ve just seen one of these for first time in Norwich, UK got pictures and video clip

  • Francesca Hirchak
    July 31, 2018 9:34 pm

    Oh my God, its exactly what I have on the leg of my outside table and has not moved all day. Is it still alive? If it is skin, how does it maintain itself from falling. Just holding onto the leg of the table. I did do the garden 2 days ago, did I disrupt it from the ground?

    • It is just a shell, so it is very light weight. The living insect has flown off. Cicada nymphs do not dig to the surface until they are ready for metamorphosis.

  • William Hong
    April 11, 2019 1:15 am

    Nope, that’s not a new species. It’s a Kempfer cicada. it is quite common in Korea.

  • Jeanette Wells
    July 15, 2019 1:19 pm

    Do these cicadas burrow down 20 cm or so and remain there for a year, only emerging once the soil temperature has reached 15° C or a little higher?

    • We are not certain of the individual species life cycle of this particular Cicada, but most Cicada nymphs remain underground for several years and soil temperature is apparently a metamorphosis trigger for many species.

  • Patrick Licciardi
    December 31, 2019 11:32 am

    Hi there.My name is Patrick Licciardi from Duncan BC
    On June 22 my dog Bridger ( Belgian Malinois ) alerted me to a bug he had found. Beeing originally from the south of France ( Provence )I recognized
    it to be a Cicada nymph.I soon noticed a light green line developing on it’s back. As a result I have a series of pictures showing it emerging from its exoskeleton and turning into beautifull Cicada. I have lived in Canada over forty years but never knew we had (real) Cicadas.
    Feel free to contact me if you are interested in the photos

  • Patrick Licciardi
    December 31, 2019 11:32 am

    Hi there.My name is Patrick Licciardi from Duncan BC
    On June 22 my dog Bridger ( Belgian Malinois ) alerted me to a bug he had found. Beeing originally from the south of France ( Provence )I recognized
    it to be a Cicada nymph.I soon noticed a light green line developing on it’s back. As a result I have a series of pictures showing it emerging from its exoskeleton and turning into beautifull Cicada. I have lived in Canada over forty years but never knew we had (real) Cicadas.
    Feel free to contact me if you are interested in the photos

  • Cornina Jordan
    June 12, 2021 8:08 am

    I found a cicada in the area that I live in,, my screen door,,

  • Finding a high amount of these(they look identical, basically neon- green/aqua blue) 4- 8 ” underground, in Georgetown/Volcanoville California 04/12/23. Always individually but near others.
    They sure squish easily, but oh jeez they’re ugly.


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