All photographs copyright (2003-2013) by Kris H. Light

Cicada Nymph skin<br>
The discarded nymph skins (exoskeletons) are often found on trees, grass blades, or sides of buildings. The nymphs live underground anywhere from 7, 13, or 17 years, depending on the species. On some unknown cue, the nymphs begin...
Cicada Nymph skin

The discarded nymph skins (exoskeletons) are often found on trees, grass blades, or sides of buildings. The nymphs live underground anywhere from 7, 13, or 17 years, depending on the species. On some unknown cue, the nymphs begin to dig toward the surface and climb up a vertical surface. The nymph's skin splits on the thorax, just behind the head, then the adult insect slowly emerges from the skin. The process takes about 45 minutes (I watched one of the Dogday cicadas emerge from its skin once, it was fascinating!). After emerging from the soil-encrusted exoskeleton, the cicada rests and allows its wings to dry. The adult insects do not live long after mating. Reproduction is the "kiss of death" for these insects! They don't eat in this phase of their life, in fact, they don't even have a mouth!

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