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Tuesday, August 9, 2011


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Last night we got to witness a cicada shedding its outer skin! Until now, I have never seen such a sight! It was amazing and I am glad that all the girls were awake to see it happening.

Mid-summer days always bring the clicking, buzzing sounds of the cicadas. We listen for them during the day and Sophia hunts for their castaway shells on trees in our backyard.  Several cultures, such as the ancient Chinese, regarded these insects as powerful symbols of rebirth!

Recently, we caught a cicada that had been hurt. One of its wings had been bent and we carefully put it in our butterfly cage to observe it. Unfortunately, we did not know how to feed it so we placed it on a tree nearby and hoped for its safety. 

We had also seen another cicada in its shell walking across our sidewalk at night searching for a safe place to emerge. It was a strange sight to see because we usually only see the shells the cicadas leave behind!

Since Sophia has taken a great interest in bugs, she is constantly asking questions on all the bugs and insects that we find outdoors. Her thirst for bug knowledge has given me reason to research and keep her informed! 

We also have two books on bugs and caterpillars that she keeps by her side for quick reference. 

Back to cicadas, the males are the ones we hear! Male cicadas rest on trees to "sing" and attract the females. They produce the sound we hear by means of two special vibrating membranes in the sides of the abdomen.

The ones that we commonly see in our area are called Dog-Day Cicadas and their life cycle last from 2 to 5 years. Female cicadas insert clusters of eggs into the twigs and small branches which hatch and drop to the ground within 6 weeks.  These young nymphs burrow into the soil, seeking tree roots. As they molt through several growth stages, they may burrow several feet down.  Fully developed nymphs will burrow out of the ground at night, climb onto tree trunks, low plants or other objects to emerge.  These adults can live for 5 to 6 weeks!

What amazing things we have witnessed because of Sophia's eagle eyes that are always on the lookout for bugs and caterpillars! 

Go outside at night with a flashlight and see if you can find some cool things as well! 

You just might catch a glimpse of a cicada yourself!

Good luck exploring!

See the wings curled up by its side? Check the next photo to see how they change!
See how the curled wings dried and unfurled into these beautiful wings? Amazing!


  1. It is amazing that you caught that process on film. Great job!

  2. Thanks for your comment today. The party was a lot of fun.

    We were fortunate enough to witness the exact same thing last summer. It was such an awesome site. My girls are always on the look-out for cicada shells in our yard, too. We have quite a collection already!

    Enjoy the rest of your summer.


  3. Oops, just realized that I typed "site" when it should have been "sight".

  4. I found your blog while searching for information on cicadas. My oldest son just called the rest of us out to see a pair of mating cicadas in the driveway. One had already died and the other was trying to get free. We were also lucky to watch one shedding its shell last summer. My boys like to collect the shells, just as I did when I was little. Some things don't ever change. :)


I appreciate you stopping by! Thank you for commenting! xo ~Olivia