During a recent walk near Lake Tsala Apoka, Anne spots a strange creäture clinging to the edge of the sidewalk. I look down to see an insect with large eyes and claw-like legs. This weird-looking bug is a cicada nymph that just crawled out of the ground.
Cicadas are those insects you hear buzzing from tree tops during the summer heat. The hotter the day the louder the buzz. The males sing to attract females to mate, then die. There is no long life for these organisms. Their sole purpose as an adult is to procreate. The females lay eggs. The eggs hatch and the nymphs that hatch fall to the ground where they burrow into the ground. These tiny nymphs seek out the roots of the trees they were born in where they attach themselves to the roots and suck the nutrients they need to grow.
What we were seeing is one of the grown nymphs, freshly emerged from the ground seeking the base of the tree it was born on where it will crawl up on the tree’s bark and shed its outer shell emerging as an adult cicada. If it is a male, it will crawl to the top of the tree and buzz to attract a female. If it is a female, it will fly to a buzzing male to reproduce.
This cicada was far from any trees, but it was a windy day so it was probably blown from where it emerged. Anne and I grabbed it gently and carried it to the trunk of one of the trees in the park. It immediately clung to the tree’s rough bark and climbed up a bit almost posing for the pictures I was taking of it. The following day, during a walk in the park, we could hear the buzzing in the tree where we left it and wondered if it could be the same creature.