Monday, November 4, 2013

If you're squeamish, don't click this post!

One evening in early September, Double D stepped outside the front door to get the mail. He stuck his head back in the door and told me I should go get my macro lens and come outside. Oh, I was so delighted to see what my love had found for me to shoot.

A cicada! Finally! I had been looking for them all summer.

Attached to the stucco, close to the ground, this little stud posed like he was meant to be on the cover of Insect World. I set up as quickly as possible, afraid he was going to fly off. Excitedly, I began shooting like a paparazzi, and when I saw that he was being so cool about it, I used every angle I could think of. My neighbors must've thought I was crazy lying on the ground, contorted on my side. Ah well, you know what they say: if people aren't talking about you, you're boring. :)

Suddenly, it dawned on me that something wasn't right. I took a stick, prodding the cicada, ready to duck if he flew at me. Clink. He fell to the walkway making a hollow plastic sound as he clattered to the ground. My cover model was a SHELL! Did I feel stupid or what? lol The animal kingdom continues to fascinate and awe me.



Cicadas live underground as nymphs for most of their lives at a depth between one and eight feet. In their final nymph stage they construct an exit tunnel to emerge in order to shed (molt) their skin on a nearby plant and become an adult. Their exuvia or abandoned exoskeleton remains, still clinging to the bark of trees; or in this case, stucco. Their life cycle is roughly 2-5 years. The mating/egg laying process is very damaging to trees. More fascinating information on cicadas can be found here. If you do click on the link scroll to the bottom to see a neat animated gif of them shedding their exoskeleton.

EDIT: TexWisGirl and Terri are correct! This is a cicada that did not complete the transition. After looking more closely, you can see part of the body trying to emerge, but it didn't make it. Still, I'm leaving the post because I think he is a beautiful specimen. Thanks for your keen observation, girls!

Linking to I Heart Macro and Macro Monday 2. Thank you, hosts!!

38 comments:

Buttons said...

Oh Gail what a wonderful find I can see you lying on the ground taking shots and capturing the beauty. It is too bad it was just the shell but what a beautiful shell it is. Thanks I loved this I never seen one close and love that you showed the process. Hug B

Nancy Claeys said...

Love the images (apparently I'm not squeamish!) but mostly how you and your sweetie work in tandem to get these amazing shots. :)

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I have been fooled by these shells before too lol. Kinda cool though aren't they?

TexWisGirl said...

well, sorry to say, that guy didn't make it out of his shell. it's not an empty shell, but a half-crawled-out-of one. his head made it but the rest of him didn't.

Terri Buster said...

I agree with Tex- don't think this one made it. Cicadas are such intriguing creatures, but their shells are kinda creepy.

hootnonny said...

It's a ghost! Interesting creatures, they are!

Have a great week, Gail.

rainfield61 said...

I feel so jealous as I always fail to take good pictures of this insect,

not until....

Karen said...

How cool! It looks like something out of a sci-fi movie.

Stephanie said...

Okay, since you said this post was not for the squeamish I just had to click on it even though I am squeamish :) I was actually quite fascinated by your photos and the info about these little guys.

Have a great day, Gail! Hugs!

Starla said...

Very interesting!!

ladyfi said...

What a fascinating look at the shell - poor little guy didn't make it. Amazing shots. Love the shots of the egret too having a snack in your front lawn.

Nancy said...

Whether he got out or not, these are amazing shots...I like you are just in awe of the animal world and all the details God went to to create our amazing world...

Deanna said...

Oh my, you captured an insect of nature between life & death...wow!!

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

How cool to catch this so close up!

Kim Stevens said...

Yep, if it was a shell it would be translucent and if he had made it out you would be able to see their beautiful wings....like you I was so excited to actually see one. I've been hearing them all summer and about a month ago I saw one fly out of the tree and onto a milkweed plant...I share your fascination with them....mine looked like he had army fatigues on, lol! Great photo!!

Shug said...

Fascinating.....even the shells scare me! Isn't it amazing how God has a detailed plan for everything...even the cicada. The life cycle in itself is amazing, and then the way they shed is even more amazing..
Great, great pictures! Gotta show this to the grands this afternoon..
hugs,
Shug

EG CameraGirl said...

Your photos make me want a macro lens soooooo much! Wonderful!

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

That is some macro work,be the subject dead or alive. Personally,I would rather it were dead. LOL

Kittie Howard said...

Love the cicada. If I'd been stuck in whatever for 17 years, I'd party until the cows came home, too!

Gail, are you ready for this? My mother's maiden name was Hummel! Only in Louisiana! Yay! And my books at #4 for La books and travel, variously at #15 in the South. I'm soooo excited. If sales keep up, there's a chance of cracking the Top 100 in the States. I'd really like for people to see the warmer, historical, poignant side of Louisiana.

Thanks for your best wishes. Here's hoping your magic flutters my way!

chai-and-chardonnay.blogspot.com said...

What a great post! Love the cicada picture - how fascinating! Thanks for all the informations.

Christian Weiß said...

Wonderful macros, they looks extraterrestrial.

Laura said...

these are such wonderful macros… we saw some cicada shells this summer… creepy yet fascinating.

Thanks for sharing the love up-close with I Heart Macro:-)

I do hope you'll add a "patch" to this year's gratitude word quilt… instructions for how to participate are at the top of my blog. It is very simple, just takes a few breaths and a moment or two to write then send to me in an email.

Lee Ann L. said...

These are amazing!

eileeninmd said...

We did not see them in our neighborhood. They are kind of creepy looking. Great shots!

Barb Brookbank said...

lol! I loved reading all about this fascinating creature. Great shots!

beth said...

in or out of it's shell, it's still gross BUT beautiful...you know what i mean? of course you do. you're a photographer :)

AHHHHHMAZING is what i'll call this post. oh, and around here, we have way too many cicadas and cicada problems :(

Brian King said...

These are impressive even if it wasn't alive! The detail is fantastic!

bailey-road.com said...

A fascinating find.

Linda said...

Well, it may have been a sad ending for the cicada, but your photos are fantastic!

Wally Jones said...

Wonderful photography, Gail!
I almost hesitate to shoot Cicadas since each time I do I "re-discover" the fact that there are thousands of different species of the critters!
Identification is always a challenge for me.

Nice work!

Carletta said...

I was agreeing with Tex and Terri before I read your edit. There is always supposed to be so many you'd think there were more shells to be found.
I'm glad you left these macros posted. Up close is how we learn.
The macros are awesome!

Gunilla Bäck said...

Awesome shots anyway.

Hannah said...

I grew up in Houston, I saw many shells attached to walls or trees, just empty husks. I kind of enjoyed the sounds they made too. The one in your photo has real eyes and substance, his face almost looks like a Darth Vader mask. Very cool. I don't think they live where I am now.

HOOTIN ANNI said...

Well, he didn't make it. That you can see. But, none the less, I thought your images were great.

There is a myth in the desert southwest that when they begin to 'sing' their calls, it's going to rain.

Stewart M said...

We will be getting our cicadas soon - so noisy!

Great set of pictures - I have only ever seen the shells or the adults - even if these one got stuck half was between the two!

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Nora at Island Rambles said...

wonderful pixs love the macros....lovely!!!thanks for your comments on my blog

Jori said...

Fascinating! You always find the coolest stuff!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Wow, I love these pictures. Even if it was just a shell, it is more cicada than I've ever seen. One time years ago (in our other life)we were in Dallas for a Convention and it was a year for them and we could hear them everywhere we walked (even downtown from our hotel to a restaurant...I kept reading about them, but could never find any. So this is great. Thank you. (I'm not a bit squeamish really, but I can't even imagine anyone who would be too squeamish for this post..)