Aug 25 2011
On my way to work the other day I found this cicada shell clinging to an oak.
Cicadas live most of their lives as nymphs in the soil under trees but when they’re ready to become adults they crawl out of the soil, climb up a tree, hang on and… jump out of their skins!
Click here to watch the process.
It looks like this happened fast but in fact it takes about two hours for the adult to emerge and dry off. During that time its body is soft, like a softshell crab, and it’s quite vulnerable to predation.
When the adult’s wings and body have hardened, the adult flies away leaving his old skin behind, including his legs and the covers of his eyes.
No need to be afraid of this bug. He’s just a shell of his former self.
For more information on cicada molting see this informative page at Massachusetts Cicadas.
(photo by Kate St. John)