Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Cicada Wasp N Cicada a Month Apart

The last few weeks while taking daily walks and pix, we've spotted some unusual buggy items that warranted closeups. (I’m getting better about carrying and whipping out a measuring stick so I can scale the objects.) My pixstrip with composites shows three related objects—cicada wasp (dead), cicada exoskeleton (aka "exuvia"), and cicada (dead), approximately scaled with my trusty 6” rule.

Some LinkedIn connections IDed the first bug as a cicada wasp (from June 12). Cicada wasp? It’s a wasp that zeros in on cicadas as they emerge from their hibernation. Note that the underside of the image pair shows the stinger. I created a composite with pastes of measuring stick segments and the camera pouch. I was amazed at the over-two-inch wingspan. According to "The Texas-sized cicada killer", the females have the stingers and are docile, and males don't have stingers but are aggressive.

The second image section (July 11) shows a cicada exuvia that hung vertically from a curb. You can see a hollow inside where the insect emerged from. For the image, I used masking tape to affix the measuring stick near the body length to get a sense of scale.

8/10/17, WRT to exuvia/exuviae—from Steve Schwartzman of Portraits of Wildflowers
from what I can tell, entomologists normally use the plural exuviae. The singular would indeed be exuvia, but entomologists seem not to use that form. While exuviae is formally a plural, it carries something of a singular force as a set of sloughed-off parts.
https://www.ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=exuviae
https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/us/exuviae

The third image section (July 12) shows the topside and bottom side of a cicada. I had help from additional LinkedIn connections in IDing it. Two commenters provided the same wikipedia link (endorsement!), which conveniently includes an audio link near the picture. In the last few weeks I sure have heard a lot of the same sounds. View the following YouTube videos for closeup motions and sounds.
View videos of cicadas starting out as muddy-looking bugs. Watch them detach from their exoskeletons and emerge as elegant, transparent-winged cicadas—
The following three videos show closeups of cicada wasps and their distinctive yellow markings. Two of the videos show wasps hauling their much larger prey.
Past Articles about Cicadas

Last year, I had written a couple of articles about cicadas, but was more focused on the exoskeletons than the wasp predator or winged insects. Both exoskeletons in those images had wound up on the same porch column at different times. Incidentally, one set of images includes wasps, but they seem to be maybe curious paper wasps buzzing at the empty shell.
Lots of thanks to LinkedIn people who helped ID my pictures in my feed and also commented! If you're a LinkedIn member, you can visit the following topics and images:

Cicada articles:

2 comments:

Woody Lemcke said...

Another great article! Thanks Wanda! It reminded me of my youth in Galveston county. We had tall sycamores with plenty of cicadas. The occasional cicada killer wasp was very intimidating. I've noticed some large irridescent black/purple wasps carrying larger spiders (~2x their weight) along the ground and up the rock walls of the house lately.

whilldtkwriter said...

Thx! Scary about those industrious wasps hauling those spiders! Betcha best not to get in their way!

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