Dog Day Cicada
Category: True Bugs
So I was shot a question the other day over the true nature of cicadas, and thus I am presenting one from the collection to quickly clear up some misconceptions. Sitting outside in the hot summer sun, you hear the most distinguishable sound of summer a loud buzz that encompasses the whole area. This is the work of the cicadas, a bug that is famous for its moltings and life-cycle. The insects themselves generally aren't seen (except as will be noted) but once they emerge from the ground the nymphs will shed their old 'skin' and leave behind the moltings, clinging to trees for us to find.
However, this particular specimen isn't one of the extremely long term species. It's a common Dog-Day Cicada of the Northeast US, and this one is just an annual cicada. So rather than waiting in the ground for 17 years, the nymphs are only buried for a year where they feed on root juices. They all don't come out at once, but are distributed throughout July and August. And because the nymphs feed on the roots of trees they are known to be a pest.
Also, you may be wondering what is the point to having a 17 year developing stage only to live 'normally' for a summer? Well it's believed that emerging in one massive brood can overwhelm predators like birds. It is also thought that having such a long and prime-numbered life cycle makes it harder for predators to keep track of. As always here is an informational page on thePeriodical Cicadas for you to learn more about their life cycles and how to deal them as pests.