The simple thought of the Birth of a Cicada has always fascinated me. There’s a fairly large bug that crawls out of the ground, climbs a tree, and minutes later an equally large bug, the Cicada comes out of its shell leaving behind an Exuviae, the exoskeleton. I haven’t quite figured out if the Cicada itself powers the little shell. It’s legs seem folded underneath its body, not part of the legs left behind on the exoskeleton. As it comes out you can see its small wings unfold and solidify as the entire newborn dries up in the open air.
Survival at this fragile moment is not easy. Birds of all sizes from Chickadees to Crows are all out looking to prey on these still soft and tender newborns. With their wings and body still not completely hardened they are unable to flee away quickly.
In the picture above you can see the Cicada seconds after it crawls away from its Exuviae. Its wings are still spread out as she let’s them dry. In the video below you can see two scenes of the final moments of the birth of a Cicada. The video has been accelerated to illustrate the occurrence in a time sensitive way.
The Photo and Video were taken with a Nikon D300s equipped with a Sigma 105mm Macro Lens. The gear was mounted on a tripod (Manfrotto 055CX3-Pro). A small light reflector was used in an attempt to get some light on the subject. As a third pair of hands a custom built flex arm was attached to the tripod to facilitate holding the reflector in place.
If you want to experience this little oddity of nature I can give you one piece of advice. They seem to like areas with a larger concentration of pine trees. Don’t look for them if you don’t hear them. Your chances of finding them as they come out of the ground are better where you hear a large population of mature Cicadas.