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Morning Visit to St. Patrick Cemetery

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Morning Visit to St. Patrick Cemetery

Eclosing T. canicularis cicada

11:00 am - After the other night's dismal showing of Cicadas, I decided to try this morning. I know that 11:00 am may seem a bit late for Cicada hunting but really, if you've read my journals, it seems that I have been finding Cicadas during all times of the day.

As soon as I drove into the cemetery, I noticed a T. canicularis on a Maple tree bordering the roadway. It's a female which is no surprise as I've been seeing a lot of them lately.

As I have been finding mostly T. canicularis Cicadas I have also been noticing that they are varying in sizes. Including the nymphs which is very interesting.

I wonder if this is due to competition for food sources on a tree root during their long juvenile periods under the ground. That is, are there an over abundance of nymphs feeding on the host tree or perhaps is the nutritional value of a given host tree lacking due to disease or environmental factors?

On the other side of the coin I have also been noticing that some T. canicularis Cicadas look as big as T. lyricen Cicadas only narrower. I know that this is not a third species like T. linnei because I have not heard the call of T. linnei Cicada anywhere in Massachusetts. At least not yet but you never know. Only time will tell.

I make my regular rounds and discover another female Cicada at the base of one of my favorite Ash trees. This one really looks big but I don't think it's a T. lyricen. I haven't seen those in a few weeks but I hear the males calling in the trees still. Though today it's only been one or two T. lyricens.

Maybe it's because it's cooler outside? Judging by the pattern on the female's pronotum, I decide that this specimen may harden up to be rather dark so I take it to see how it turns out.

I check another Ash tree, nothing here. I move onto the third Ash tree and notice a nymph about six inches from the ground just settling down to molt. There is no split down the back but I leave it anyway because I surely don't want a repeat of the other night. I'll wait till it completes the cicada molt process then come back and check on it.

I move onto a fourth Ash tree and discover a T. canicularis struggling to get out of it's shell. It's left forewing doesn't seem to want to exit the shell. It looks to me like it can't get the leverage to pull itself out so I try to help it by offering my finger for it to grab on to but without much success the wing seems really stuck. Click the thumbnail below with the play icon to see a short movie clip.

This is not the first time I have seen a Cicada stuck in its shell by either one or both wings. I do notice that black ants have started to gather around the Cicada looking for a free meal and are waiting for the Cicada to stop struggling long enough to attack. Oh well, that's nature I guess.

Moving on, I found many Cicadas on different trees all over the cemetery. Im happy to report that today there seemed to be as many males as females.

I take at least 6 specimens home to see if I can continue documenting the different color variations and sizes in T. canicularis. I did not find a single T. lyricen Cicada today.

Date Posted: 2004-08-26 Comments: (0) Show CommentsHide Comments


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