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Alphabetical List of Critters - Cicadas

Cicadas (family Cicadidae) are large (over 1″ long) insects with clear wings that rest in a roof-like fashion atop their abdomen. Many people are familiar with the loud ‘song’ that male cicadas produce, and the unique nature of a cicada’s life cycle (usually involving many years underground in a juvenile stage).  The well-known North American ‘periodical’ cicadas (genus Magicicada) take 13 to 17 years before emerging–in great numbers–as adults (these are not found in Maine, however). Most of the North American species–including most in Maine–belong to the genus Tibicen which is comprised of the ‘annual’ or ‘dog-day’ cicadas, which emerge in late July and August. It is more common to discover a cicada’s shed exoskeleton on a tree (in Maine, at least) than it is to find an actual cicada.  This is because they are strong fliers that spend their time high in the trees, so without the mass emergences that take place in other regions of the country, one is not very likely to encounter one in Maine very often, making them a thing of curiosity for anyone unfamiliar with them.

Cicadas feed on the xylem [which contains upward-flowing water and nutrients] of woody plants using a straw-like/needle-like mouthpart. Females lay their eggs in bark or twigs. When the eggs hatch, the nymphs (juveniles) burrow underground and feed on the roots of the tree.

Detailed Fact Sheet: Cicadas (University of Michigan)

a Cicada


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