Aug 25 2011

He Jumped Out of His Skin

Published by at 7:00 am under Insects, Fish, Frogs

On my way to work the other day I found this scissor-grinder cicada shell clinging to an oak.

Cicadas live most of their lives as nymphs in the soil under trees but when they're ready to become adults they crawl out of the soil, climb up a tree, hang on and... jump out of their skins!

Click here to watch the process.

It looks like this happened fast but in fact it takes about two hours for the adult to emerge and dry off.  During that time its body is soft, like a softshell crab, and it's quite vulnerable to predation.

When the adult's wings and body have hardened, the adult flies away leaving his old skin behind, including his legs and the covers of his eyes.

No need to be afraid of this bug.  He's just a shell of his former self.


For more information on cicada molting see this informative page at Massachusetts Cicadas.

(photo by Kate St. John)

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “He Jumped Out of His Skin”

  1. Sharon Leadbitteron 25 Aug 2011 at 7:58 am

    Very interesting … but at the same time … EW!!!

  2. Joshon 25 Aug 2011 at 2:18 pm

    We have those all over the place around here. I love being able to have the windows opened this time of year, but the hearing the cicadas all the time can get to be annoying. . . or maybe it’s just me.

  3. Barb Simonon 26 Aug 2011 at 5:17 pm

    I always thought they were hideous, but interesting.

  4. Steve-oon 29 Aug 2011 at 12:29 am

    The cicadas in New Mexico are tan and brown.

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