Seventeen-year Periodic Cicadas have been emerging slowly and silently in my east Tennessee yard for the past week. No drumming music to attract mates. No sound at all. (See more about this in my previous post: Seventeen-year Cicadas Emerging in Tennessee.) But, for the past two days they have been more active, disappearing up into the trees. And today it is sunny and 69 F degrees. A moment ago, a cicada flew by me clicking.
This slow period has offered unexpected opportunity for me to see several nymph transformations. The adult insect emerges from its nymph shell in a soft white stage, before the exoskelton and wings have had time to harden and become the mature insect we normally see. If I had not seen Sir David Attenbourough's excellent video, Amazing Cicada Life Cycle, I would not have known I was looking at the same insect.
I encountered this change as it was progressing and photographed it intermittently for 79 minutes. These transformations are happening constantly as the cicada nymphs crawl out of the ground. It is the most magical part of the whole metamorphosis and most of the time we don't even notice cicadas until they begin their deafening song. That is, unless they are all over your garden.
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