The king of insect world @ Nisargshala
The kids spotted a cicada. We all know this disturbing creature even in cities. However they normally appear at nights in cities or around human habitat. But it’s quite difficult to spot them as the sound they make, seems come from all the directions. And if we decide to trace the sound and somehow manage to go near the sound, they would just stop making the sound and you wouldn’t know where it came from.
Cicadas are the elders of the insect world. Some species of cicada live as long as 17 years, though most of the time is spent underground.
Cicadas are probably best known for their buzzing and clicking noises, which can be amplified by multitudes of insects into an overpowering hum. Males produce this species-specific noise with vibrating membranes on their abdomens. The sounds vary widely and some species are more musical than others. Though cicada noises may sound alike to humans, the insects use different calls to express alarm or attract mates.
Cicadas are also famous for their penchant for disappearing entirely for many years, only to reappear in force at a regular interval. There are some 3,000 cicada species, but only some share this behavior (the 17-year cicada is an example). Others are called annuals because, although individuals have multi-year lifecycles, some adults appear every year. The dog day cicada, for example, emerges each year in mid-summer.
Female cicadas lay from 200 to 600 eggs in tiny holes made in branches and twigs in trees and shrubs. Cicada young—called nymphs—hatch from the eggs and immediately drop to burrow underground, where they attach to tree roots. The nymphs remain attached to the roots, sucking tree sap, for most of their lives. When the dormant period ends, the cicada emerges from underground at sunset, guided only by instinct, and climbs the trunk of a nearby tree. There the cicada’s skin sheds, allowing the adult cicada to emerge.
When young cicada nymphs hatch from their eggs, they dig themselves into the ground to suck the liquids of plant roots. They spend several early life stages in these underground burrows before surfacing as adults. The process varies in length but often takes a number of years.
Periodical cicadas do not create destructive plagues, as some locusts do, though tens or hundreds of thousands of insects may crowd into a single acre. Large swarms can overwhelm and damage young trees by feeding and laying eggs, but older trees usually escape without serious damage.
Above ground, male cicadas fill the air with shrill buzzing sounds, the result of small drum-like plates on the abdomen that the cicada vibrates rapidly. While many people find the sound annoying, the male cicada uses it to attract female cicadas for mating. Both male and female cicadas die after about five weeks above ground.
Cicadas are members of the order Homoptera and are physically distinguished by their stout bodies, broad heads, clear-membrane wings, and large compound eyes. The insect’s amazing lifestyle has been a source of fascination since ancient times. Several cultures, such as the ancient Chinese, regarded these insects as powerful symbols of rebirth.
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Wow, my kids also would love to explore such things. Great way to teach kids. Thanks for information