Naturalist’s Corner – Dog-day Cicadas!

Naturalist’s Corner – Dog-day Cicadas!

Posted August 19, 2020

Written by Kyla Isakson

Dog-day cicadas (Neotibicen canicularis), also known as annual cicadas, are insects with a brown body, approximately 2 inches long, and wings with green venation. Females will lay up to 400 eggs in 40-50 slits that they create in twigs of broad-leafed trees and stems of weeds and grass. The nymphs, the first stage in the cicada life cycle, hatch from their eggs 6-7 weeks later. Nymphs drop to the ground and bury themselves. They feed on nutrients from plant roots, and they remain burrowed for approximately four years. Once they emerge, they climb trees, latch on with their claws, and shed their exoskeleton to emerge as adults with wings.

Contrary to the periodical cicadas, which are only native to North America, dog-day cicadas are found worldwide in temperate and tropical climates. Dog-day cicadas emerge in late summer every one to two years, and they are known for their characteristic hum, which is created from a pair of organs called tympana. Tympana consist of a series of membranes in resonating chambers in the males’ abdomen. Each species of cicada can be identified by the tone of their hum.

To learn more about cicadas, click here.

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