Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Throughout the World - Known for their Songs

     Some people might say that they are known for their disturbing sounds. I have gotten used to their songs and they really don't bother me at all. Cicadas are commonplace during the summer months, especially in the country. They remind me of camping, which I like.
     As usual I was outside searching for an animal, any animal. I saw a cicada hanging on the side of some wooden steps and noticed it was covered with dirt. I usually just see the shells with no dirt so I figured this one had just come out of the ground.

     I remember hearing on the news that the people of the east coast of the United States were awaiting the arrival of a lot of them. I guess the news was trying to warn the people to be ready for the noise. I, along with others in the south, are so used to the sound that it wouldn't be that big of news here. I suddenly notice another cicada located on a step right below this one. It had another animal beside it which was green. I didn't know what it was. I thought it looked somewhat like a praying mantis.
     I went inside to do my research and discovered the green animal was actually the cicada emerging from its shell. I read that this cicada was in its final stage of its life cycle. Cicadas live underground anywhere from four years to seventeen years. I had never seen one coming out of its shell. I had seen other cicadas that were brown sitting on trees. There are over 2,500 species and they appear in brown, black or green.                     
    I was pretty excited in finding an animal I had never seen before because they are often heard and rarely seen. While googling about this particular animal, came across a similar photo taken by in the Gunung Mulu National Park in Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia. It is so amazing to know that from across the world the same animal can appear.
     The cicada is waiting for its beautiful and translucent wings to dry and harden before coming unattached to its shell. I am so glad I didn't disturb this process. The cicada spends the majority of its life waiting on this moment. After spending up to 17 years in the ground, it will only live a short 5 weeks of its adulthood.
      Only the males do the singing. Each species looks different from one another and have their own songs. There are three distinctive songs. One sounds like the word - "pharaoh," one like a sizzling skillet, and one like a rotary lawn mower.                                           

The different species sing at different times of day; one favors the early part of the day, another prefers midday and the third takes the later afternoon shift. Cicadas are not locusts, so it is not the end of the world when they emerge. The two insects come from different orders in the scientific classification system. Locusts are the only ones mentioned in the book of Revelation in the bible. They aren't poisonous, they don't bite, and largely keep to the trees. They won't hurt or attack you because they don't move around that much. In China, male cicadas are kept in cages in peoples homes so that the homeowner can enjoy their songs.
The cicada is an ancient symbol representing resurrection, immortality, and spiritual realization. 


  1. I, too, love the sound of cicadas. When I lived in Arkadelphia, the locusts came above ground. Talk about a distinctive sound. A whine--constantly--for as long as they lived--5 days, you say? Thanks for an enlightening post. Good job. xoxo

  2. Thanks Pat for reading my post and commenting. So glad you liked it! Really glad to hear you like the cicadas also. :)