Sunday, August 27, 2017

Molting Cicada Visitor at My Doorstep



Last month, on my way back from a morning walk around 8 AM, I spied a cicada partially emergent from its exoskeleton at my front door. It looked to be trapped and unable to have exited. Took pix, natch. Checked later, and found it had moved. In the course of the day (about 4 1/2 hours), the two of us took series of pix and videos. (View the finished YouTube video.)

Around mid-day, the other pictaker took a last shot of the cicada, fully extended, still drying out. Shortly thereafter, we saw it had departed, leaving the exuviae that had a more slender exit cavity than I'd seen of other vacated shells. The video is time-sequenced for cropped stills and clips. Most amazing is capturing stages of emergence and the stunning mask-like look on its back.

Note: Somehow, I missed the shelly cicada on my way out for my walk (7-ish, maybe). I either didn't spot it, or it approached the doorstep during my walk. View "Cicada Molting - Nature Time Lapse (Cicala fa la muta)" to see a couple of shelly cicadas undulating and splitting the shell backs, starting the emerging process, then completing the molting process.

Bugguide.net and Cicada Mania
Bugguide.net has been my most frequent go-to site for bugs. For this article about cicadas, Cicada Mania's "The most interesting 17 year cicada facts" bubbled to the surface as a compelling site to visit.
More worthy Cicada Mania sites:
Some images from Bugguide.net's "Subfamily Cicadinae" page resemble my visitor cicada. The genus might be neotibicen ("Genus Neotibicen - Annual or Dogday Cicadas") or megatibicen ("Genus Megatibicen").
From "Genus Megatibicen"
Identification
Most members of the Megatibicen are >2.5 inches long (incl. wings). Megatibicen are often "stockier in appearance" & characteristically more pruinose (white powdery wax) than are most members of the Genus Neotibicen.
Pee Ew
One of the clips in my YouTube video shows the emergent cicada spraying a fluid. Did it pee? Sure looked like it did! Found some info and a video, although these cicadas were already free of their shells.

At Massachusetts Cicadas site (slogan: Dedicated to the Study of the Cicadas of Massachusetts and New England), "Cicada Molting/Eclosing Process" shows a timeline a timeline of the cicada's emergence. For ick factor, view the closeup of cicada pee. Cicada Mania's "Do cicadas pee?" mentions cicadas after they molt, not during. The site includes YouTube video "Cicadas - Drinking & Peeing (01Apr2012a)" of branch with emerged cicadas on it spraying away. (The spray resembles the emission as from my molting cicada visitor.)

Cicada articles:

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