I Found Cicadas!

Have you noticed when outdoors on a dry, hot day before monsoon season and hear buzzing sounds you never see one cicada? They are in the area yet conveniently stop buzzing and hide when approached. Those male cicadas are clicking a pair of hardened membranes on their underside to attract females with loud attempts to drown out other males.

The other day my goal was to locate a cicada. I walked back and forth in an area to narrow down their location. Upon closer look, I found two cicadas tussling with each other! (I might have interrupted something. Oops!) True to what I read, one scurried off to behind the tree branch, one of their tricks, and the reason why we do not often see them. I nudged closer to take a photo. They are a big bug but they do not bite, thankfully.

Cicada
Caught before one scurried off!

Cicadas are only above ground for a few weeks to mate. Eggs are laid on a tree twig. Once hatched they fall to the ground to burrow beneath, feed on plant roots and mature. There are so many different species of cicadas in Arizona with different life cycles, thus we see some specie of cicada every summer. Some may be underground for years. When they surface and find a safe place, the juvenile skin is shed, and almost overnight will have an adult exoskeleton and wings to start their life cycle all over again.

Is it a scrub cicada?

I love the iNaturalist app. I mistakenly identified the cicada and now we are determining if it is a scrub cicada. Most common cicada in Arizona is the Apache cicada, but I do not think this is what I have photographed. It doesn’t matter; happy to have finally seen a cicada and have no need to interrupt their activity in the future.

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