Cicada Invasion

May 2004, the invasion of the seventeen year periodical cicadas begins. After weeks of waiting, I finally see signs of them. Over the next few days, they come out in force. Every morning, around 8am, they are crawling up the trees and coming out of their shell. The sixteenth was particularily interesting. It rained in the morning so when the cicadas came out, their exoskeletons weren't hardening enough for them to break free and they were just building up on the trees. When there was a bit of sunshine, they all started coming out at once. The molting process takes about an hour. It will be another hour or more before they have hardened and darkened. Although they are sometimes called locusts, they are not related to them at all. they are in the family Cicadidae and genus Magicicada. I hope you enjoy these cicada pictures.


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Molting Cicada
When they get this far out of their shell, they stop and spend about 15 minutes resting before moving further.
Date: May 14, 2004
Location: Bethesda, MD

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Wings lengthining
When the cicada exits it's shell, it's wings are still small and not fully expanded. Over a period of many minutes the wings lengthen.
Date: May 15, 2004
Location: Bethesda, MD

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Still white
When the cicada is fully out of it's shell, it is white. It takes an hour or more for it's exoskeleton to harden and darken.
Date: May 14, 2004
Location: Bethesda, MD

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Hanging around
I am not sure how this happened, but one cicada as attached itself via its front legs, to the front legs of another that is just coming out of it's shell.
Date: May 16, 2004
Location: Bethesda, MD

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Mass emergence
During the rain, a bunch of cicada's built up on this tree trunk. When it started to dry out, they all started molting.
Date: May 16, 2004
Location: Bethesda, MD

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Shells on Leaves
Empty shells of departed cicadas. They will molt wherever they can, but prefer to climb up things. This makes it common to see them on tall blades of grass, tree trunks, and especially leaves high in the tree.
Date: May 14, 2004
Location: Bethesda, MD

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Mass Cicada
Bunches on them on these plants. Lots of shells too.
Date: May 15, 2004
Location: Bethesda, MD

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Cicadas on a plant
Three cicadas on a flower.
Date: May 15, 2004
Location: Bethesda, MD

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Here's looking at you
A cicada on a plant, looking at you!
Date: May 26, 2004
Location: Bethesda, MD

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Cicada on a twig
Have a good look at this one, it is a Magicicada septendecim, you can tell by its size and the broad orange stripes on the underside.
Date: May 26, 2004
Location: Bethesda, MD
More Cicada Photos

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