Photo: A cicada after eclosing and still clinging to its nymph stage exoskeleton.
A few nights ago, the dogs (German Shepherds Oso and Maya and rescue mutt Sunshine) and I headed out to check the greenhouses and closeup the warehouse. As we approached the yard gate, Oso and Maya alerted at something just off the path. I expected a copperhead snake, but it turned out to be a 1.5-inch-long cicada nymph. Having just emerged from its subterranean home, it was crawling across the ground trying to reach a tree trunk to climb before a copperhead made a meal of it.
To ensure its safety, I picked it up and placed it about three feet up on the trunk of a Chinaberry tree (Melia azedarach). About twenty minutes later the dogs and I returned from our nighttime chores and I checked on the nymph. In that short time, the nymph had eclosed (splitting its exoskeleton and emerging as an adult). I called for Susie (wife and Goliad Farms™ business manager) to bring my phone and the cicada posed nicely for photos.
This time of the year, cicadas provide about 80% of copperhead diets (see my blogs: https://goliadfarms.com/creepy-copper-the-copperhead-snake/ and https://goliadfarms.com/copperhead-eating-a-cicada/). Cicadas are common and our summertime evenings are filled with the male cicadas’ shrill “songs,” songs which are apparently attractive to females.
I’m a zoologist, but never took any entomology classes, so I’m not an expert at insect classification. That said, I’m confident this cicada is Tibicen superba, the Superb Green Cicada. Based on the cicada songs we hear, we have at least one other cicada species. Here’s a link to a site about some Texas cicadas:
Our farm is home to many amazing animals and plants, cicadas are simply the noisiest.