Sunday, July 20, 2008
Twelve days ago, I wasn't ready to see the creature that had landed on our wet carpet that we had pulled out of our basement and laid outside next to our house. I looked down, and sure enough, clinging the fuchsia colored carpeting, laid a dripping wet cicada. Not the periodical kind, like I had photographed earlier this year in southern Ohio, but the honest to goodness summer is progressing and is almost over type of cicada. Had we really advanced this far? I can remember how we were all just complaining that spring would never come, and now, here, on our crappy wet carpeting, was a sign that we're on the back end of summer.
I'm speculating that this individual was a recent hatch, since I had not heard a single characteristic buzzing sound that usually alerts me that the height of summer has arrived. It clung to the carpet, it could not fly because it was so wet, and possibly it had not fully hardened after its hatch. What a great photo opportunity, I thought. I grabbed the camera and flash, and went to town, snapping away at various angles. Notice the water droplet still clinging to its left eye.
Satisfied that I had successfully photographed it on the carpeting, I wanted to get this creature in a more natural surrounding, so I gently picked it up and placed it on some box-elder leaves, and continued to fire away. The insect has several parts that really fascinated me- the orange spheres grouped in triangle on the top of its head, the tiny antennae, and its horizontally striped face.
After a little research on bugguide, I think my photos match up fairly well to images of the dog day cicada, Tibicen canicularis. Megan and I have now started to hear male cicadas (the females don't sing) at our new place. Perhaps the nymphs live under our yard and suck the juices from our bur oak tree. I think we're happy to provide them with a little food, as long as they let me photograph them every once in a while.
Happy cicada watching-