How to recognize cicada nymphs

Identifying Cicada Nymphs: Essential Tips

Cicadas are fascinating insects known for their loud buzzing sound. While adult cicadas are relatively easy to spot, identifying cicada nymphs can be a bit more challenging. Nonetheless, with a few essential tips, you can easily recognize these young creatures and learn more about their fascinating life cycle.

So, how can you identify cicada nymphs? Let’s explore their characteristics, appearance, and behavior to help you distinguish them from their adult counterparts.

Key Takeaways:

  • Cicada nymphs are the immature stage of cicadas, spending most of their time underground.
  • They are dark brown and have a stout body shape, resembling beetles without wings.
  • Nymphs do not have wings and are not capable of flight, unlike adult cicadas.
  • Their large reddish or black eyes are set apart on each side of the head.
  • Cicada nymphs typically climb up objects like trees when they are ready to molt into adults.

Characteristics of Cicada Nymphs

Cicada nymphs have several distinguishing features that set them apart from adult cicadas. If you are trying to recognize young cicadas, here are some key characteristics to look out for:

  • Distinguishing color: Cicada nymphs are typically dark brown in color. This helps them blend in with the soil and vegetation in their underground habitat.
  • Stout body shape: Unlike adult cicadas, nymphs have a stout and robust body shape. They are not streamlined like their adult counterparts.
  • Wingless: One of the most notable differences between nymphs and adult cicadas is that nymphs do not have wings. They are not capable of flight at this stage.
  • Large eyes: Nymphs have large eyes that are reddish or black in color. These eyes are positioned on each side of the head, allowing them to detect movement and navigate their surroundings.

Nymphs spend most of their time underground, where they feed on plant and tree roots. When they are ready to molt into adults, they undergo a remarkable transformation. They climb up objects such as trees, fences, or the sides of buildings to shed their exoskeletons and emerge as mature cicadas. During this molting process, they leave behind cast skins, which may look like insects but are actually hollow on the inside.

By familiarizing yourself with the characteristics of cicada nymphs, you’ll be better equipped to recognize these young cicadas when you encounter them in your garden or surrounding areas.

Behavior and Habits of Cicada Nymphs

Cicada nymphs exhibit specific behaviors and habits that can help you identify them. They are primarily active from July to September, during which time you may hear their distinct humming sound. This sound, resembling a power line hum, is produced by the males to attract females.

Unlike adult cicadas, which are typically seen flying, it is more common to spot nymphs in their immature stage. They spend most of their time underground, feeding on plant and tree roots. When they are ready to molt into adults, they climb up objects such as trees, posts, fences, or the sides of buildings.

The emergence of nymphs can be triggered by soil temperatures of around 64°F. Once they have molted into adults, they live for about 2-4 weeks, during which time they mate, lay eggs, and eventually die. It is important to note that while cicadas may cause some damage to trees when they use their ovipositor to lay eggs in twigs, they are generally harmless to people, pets, and property.

FAQ

Q: How can I recognize cicada nymphs?

A: Cicada nymphs can be recognized by their dark brown color and stout body shape. They do not have wings like adult cicadas and have large reddish or black eyes. They are typically found underground, where they feed on plant and tree roots.

Q: What are the distinguishing features of cicada nymphs?

A: Cicada nymphs are dark brown in color, have a stout body shape, and lack wings. They have large eyes that are reddish or black in color. Nymphs also leave behind hollow cast skins when they molt into adults.

Q: How can I spot cicada nymphs?

A: Cicada nymphs are most commonly found underground, where they spend their time feeding on plant and tree roots. When they are ready to molt into adults, they climb up objects such as trees, posts, fences, or the sides of buildings. You may also hear their distinct humming sound during the months of July to September.

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