cicada flies

Discover Cicada Flies in Your Backyard!

We are excited to introduce you to the fascinating world of cicada flies, also known as cicadas. These remarkable insects can be found right in your own backyard, adding a touch of nature’s wonder to your surroundings.

Cicada flies have a unique lifecycle that begins underground as nymphs and eventually transforms into winged adults. This transformation is accompanied by their distinctive songs, which vary among different species of cicadas. As tree-dwelling creatures, cicadas primarily lay their eggs on tree branches, making them a common sight in areas with ample vegetation.

Not only are cicada flies intriguing to observe, but they also play a crucial role in the ecosystem. They serve as an essential food source for other insects, birds, and mammals, contributing to the delicate balance of nature in your backyard.

By delving into the world of cicada fly identification, behavior, lifecycle, and habitat, you can gain a deeper appreciation for these extraordinary creatures and the harmony they bring to your own slice of nature.

Key Takeaways:

  • Cicada flies, also known as cicadas, can be found in backyards across the United States.
  • They have a unique lifecycle, starting as nymphs underground and transforming into winged adults.
  • Cicada flies are known for their distinctive songs, which vary among different species.
  • They primarily lay their eggs on tree branches, making areas with trees their preferred habitat.
  • Cicada flies are an important source of food for other insects, birds, and mammals, contributing to the ecosystem.

Cicada Fly Identification: Different Species and Characteristics

Cicada flies are a diverse group of insects, with each species possessing unique characteristics. In the United States, several common cicada fly species can be found, including the dog day cicada, scissor-grinder cicada, and periodic cicadas such as the 13-year and 17-year cicada.

The dog day cicada is easily recognizable by its green or brown coloration and distinctive songs. These cicadas are most prevalent during the hot summer months, hence their name. Their songs often fill the air during the day, making them a familiar sound in many backyards.

The scissor-grinder cicada, on the other hand, can be identified by its unique wing patterns. These patterns resemble the teeth on a scissor grinder, hence the name. Just like other cicadas, they are known for their melodious songs, which are different from those of the dog day cicadas.

One of the most fascinating cicada fly phenomena is the emergence of periodic cicadas. These species, such as the 13-year and 17-year cicadas, spend most of their lives underground. They emerge in large numbers in certain regions, creating a spectacle that occurs only once every 13 or 17 years. Witnessing their mass emergence can be a remarkable experience.

With a basic understanding of the different species and their unique characteristics, you can easily identify the cicada flies in your backyard. Pay attention to their coloration, song patterns, and emergence patterns to distinguish between the various species.

cicada fly identification

Cicada Fly SpeciesCharacteristics
Dog Day Cicada– Green or brown coloration
– Distinctive songs
– Prevalent during summer
Scissor-Grinder Cicada– Unique wing patterns resembling scissor grinder teeth
– Melodious songs
– Different from dog day cicada songs
Periodic Cicadas– Long emergence cycles (13 or 17 years)
– Spectacular mass emergences
– Unique life cycle

By familiarizing yourself with the characteristics of different cicada fly species, you can enhance your understanding and appreciation of these fascinating insects.

Cicada Fly Behavior and Lifecycle: From Nymphs to Adults

Cicada flies go through a fascinating lifecycle. They start as nymphs, which live underground and feed on the sap of tree roots. Nymphs undergo several molts before emerging as winged adults. The emergence is often triggered by soil temperatures. Once they become adults, cicadas spend a brief period of time, typically 2-4 weeks, mating, laying eggs, and eventually dying. During this time, they produce their loud songs to attract mates. Cicadas are known for their clumsy flying and may occasionally enter homes through open windows or doors. By understanding cicada fly behavior and lifecycle, you can appreciate the different stages of their life and their unique behaviors.

The Fascinating Stages of Cicada Fly Lifecycle

The lifecycle of cicada flies is truly remarkable, showcasing their incredible ability to adapt and survive. From their humble beginnings as nymphs underground to their spectacular emergence as adults, each stage brings new behaviors and experiences.

“Cicadas spend the majority of their lives as nymphs, quietly feeding on tree sap and undergoing molts. It is during this period that they mature and develop their wings.”

As the nymphs mature, they shed their exoskeletons in a process called molting. This allows them to grow and prepare for their final transformation into adults. When the time is right, triggered by favorable soil temperatures, the nymphs crawl out of the ground and find a suitable surface to complete their metamorphosis.

Once above ground, the nymphs undergo a remarkable transformation. Their exoskeleton splits open, and the adult cicada emerges, still soft and vulnerable. Gradually, their delicate wings unfold and harden, allowing them to take flight for the first time.

As adults, cicada flies have a mission to fulfill. They spend a brief period of time, typically 2-4 weeks, seeking mates, reproducing, and continuing the cycle of life. During this time, the males produce their loud songs to attract females. These songs, unique to each species, are created by vibrating special structures called tymbals located on their abdomens.

After mating, females seek out suitable trees to lay their eggs. They use their sharp ovipositors to create small slits in tree branches, where they deposit their eggs. Once the eggs hatch, the nymphs will fall to the ground and burrow themselves into the soil, beginning the cycle anew.

It’s important to note that cicadas have a synchronized emergence in certain regions, with specific broods appearing every 13 or 17 years. This phenomenon creates an awe-inspiring spectacle as millions of cicadas fill the air with their songs and fill the trees with their presence.

Cicada fly behavior and lifecycle provide endless fascination for those who observe them. Their ability to adapt, their unique stages of development, and their captivating behaviors make cicada flies a truly remarkable species to study and appreciate.

Cicada Fly Habitat, Predators, and Diet

Cicada flies are commonly found in areas with trees, as they rely on tree branches to lay their eggs. These fascinating insects prefer specific tree species, such as pine trees, for egg-laying. Their choice of habitat is crucial for the survival of their offspring. The tree branches provide a secure location for the eggs and later for the emerging nymphs.

Cicada nymphs, in the early stages of their lifecycle, feed on the sap of tree roots. This sap provides the necessary nutrition for their growth and development underground. Once they molt and emerge as winged adults, cicadas do not consume food at all. Their focus shifts to mating and reproducing during the short period of their adult lifespan.

Despite their vulnerability as nymphs and their limited time as adults, cicada flies have adapted to survive in their environment. However, they are not without predators. Cicada flies are targets for various birds, insects, and mammals. One noteworthy predator is the cicada killer wasp. These wasps paralyze cicadas and use them as food for their larvae. This symbiotic relationship between cicadas and predators further aids in balancing the ecosystem.

Understanding the habitat, predators, and diet of cicada flies provides valuable insights into their role in the ecosystem. By appreciating these aspects, we can fully grasp the importance of these remarkable insects in maintaining the natural balance of our surroundings.

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