Monday, August 24, 2009


"Knock, Knock" 
My neighbour's face peeked through our living room window. 

"The cicada are coming out of their shells! Do your boys want to see it?"
"I have never seen them coming out of their shells before!" she spoke in great excitment.

There were like three cicadas on the tree.
The first one was already out. 
But its green wings were not spread out yet. 
Neither did it move. 
The second one had its head out of its shell.
The third one moved a little as we went nearer. 
There was a little crack on its body.

We waited for a while.
The first one started climbing!
The second one had half its body out already!
I could a little green peeking out from the shell.
The third one now spotted a even bigger crack.

Ok, I don't really know much about cicadas. I know they are called "Chan/2" in chinese. Did a little homework on the internet and this was what I found :

Most cicadas go through a cycle which lasts 2 to 5 years. 
The female cicada cuts slits into the bark of a twig to lay her eggs. When the eggs hatch, the newborn nymphs drop to the ground and burrow. Cicadas live underground as nymphs for most of their lives. The nymphs feed on root juice, and have strong legs for digging. When they are ready to emerge as adults, they construct an exit tunnel to the surface. They shed their skin (molt) on a nearby plant. The skin remains clinging to the plant, after the adult cicada emerge. 

I would love to video the process. But it was too long a process. 
Found a file from Wikipedia, showing how the cicada shed its skin. 
Look carefully at how the wings "unfold" as the adult cicada emerge! 

My little boy pulled the molted skin from the trunk. 
See the hole on the skin?

The adult cicada stayed on its molted skin, supposedly drying its wings, before it spread them out and started climbing up the tree, away from its skin. My little boy, not contented with just the skin, pulled the cicada off the trunk and tried to deposit into a glass jar, for his friend, who was afraid of the insect, to have a closer look. It was then, that I realised how strong the grip of a cicada can be. I had to use a stick to pull it off my boy's fingers! 

It was an interesting start to our day ... I'm sure I will miss all these "Live" lessons when we move out of the woods next year .... 

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