Thursday, September 3, 2009

MACRO MONDAY CICADAS AND THEIR ENEMY.


To some they are the stuff of nightmares as they leave their sub-terranian homes and climb silently up tree trunks. Then the skin down their back splits open


and out climbs something not so silent - the cicada!


Much is made of the invasions that take place every seventeen years from the periodical cicadas but the regular appearance of the dog-day cicada, so named because they appear in the dog days of summer goes almost unnoticed until they strike up their strident courtship tune.


Although they are referred to as annual cicadas, most of them have a life cycle that ranges from two to five years, depending on the species. The vast majority of which is spent underground living amongst the roots of the tree on which the female first laid her eggs.


When the final instar of the nymph stage emerges from the ground and molts into the adult form this creature only has another five or six weeks to live. Maybe that explains the volume and urgency of the call!


The cicada has numerous perils to avoid, not least of which is the fearsome Cicada Killer


These wasps have synchronized their life cycle to coincide with the dog-day cicadas. A couple of weeks after the cicada start to emerge, adult cicada killer wasps also emerge from underground. They dig burrows in soft, well drained soil and then go out in search of their prey. When they find a cicada they sting it to paralyze it and then carry it back to the burrow (this gives you some idea of the size of these wasps.) The female lays an egg on the hapless cicada, then puts it into the underground chamber and seals it up. Thus providing her off spring with a ready food source.


Even the macro world can be a savage, scary place! Check out the minutia at Macro Monday, hosted by Ed.


Photo Credits - CJT

12 comments:

Ed said...

Very,Very cool! Great pics and info..:-)

moresecretwhispers said...

they sound & look super scarey! :/
great photos though

colleen said...

Great shots. Thanks for helping me identify the bug. I've seen them and not known what they were.

Arija said...

Thank you for this wonderfully informative post. We have a deafening concert late in summer.

Mellimaus said...

Wow, that's wild!! Crazy buggers...I've never heard of them, but they sound like they're straight out of a horror movie! Now you just need the high, screechy violins. :-P

Jen Mo said...

Ohh, bugs! I just love them!!!! Great job!

CTG Ponies said...

Great pics but they give me the willies. Not a big fan of bugs.

Kathiesbirds said...

That story and these pictures are the stuff of nightmares! Who needs horror stories, just watch nature!

Rambling Woods said...

Cool photos Celeste and I didn't know about that type of wasp....

Far Side of Fifty said...

I found this very interesting and informative..way cool..and yes I am hearing them at night..I think..either that or crickets..Your photos are excellent!! :)

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

oooh! Creepy but so fascinating! I love the sound of cicadas in the trees. We don't get them up here, though.

~Lisa

Holly said...

their life cycle is fascinating. Any wasp that big is just scary!