Cicada Exoskeleton From Last Summer

By | March 10, 2017

I found this Cicada Exoskeleton underneath a Pine Burl while hiking in the Ouachita National Forest here in Arkansas. I was surprised to find one that has lasted this long. The weather usually causes them to fall to the ground. When I was a kid living in Oklahoma I would take a Cicada Exoskeleton and fill it with sand. I was told that the shell (exoskeleton) would seal the sand inside. It didn’t!

Cicada Exoskeleton

A Cicada Exoskeleton I Found This Past January

Pine Burl

Cicada Exoskeleton Found Under This Pine Burl

The growth on the pine tree is what I believe to be a Burl. It is black underneath the Burl because of a fire. I placed my hat on it to show the size of this Burl. It was one of the largest I have seen.

Here is a video I made back in 2013 of a Cicada moulting (shedding skin): My Video Of A Cicada Molting

Cicada Exoskeleton Facts

When the eggs hatch, the newly hatched nymphs drop to the ground and burrow. Cicadas live underground as nymphs for most of their lives at depths down to about 8 feet. Nymphs have strong front legs for digging and excavating chambers in close proximity to roots where they feed on xylem sap. In the process, their bodies and interior of the burrow become coated in anal fluids. In wet habitats, larger species construct mud towers above ground in order to aerate their burrows. In the final nymphal instar, they construct an exit tunnel to the surface and emerge. They then moult (shed their skins) on a nearby plant for the last time, and emerge as adults. The exuviae or abandoned exoskeletons remain, still clinging to the bark of the tree.

Shells of cicadas are employed in traditional Chinese medicines. (Wikipedia)

Author: Steve Creek

An Arkansas-based wildlife photographer specializing in the wildlife found in Arkansas and Oklahoma. Steve’s images are created from his overwhelming passion for being outdoors with cameras in tow.

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