Cicada Invasion 2004

Look what arrived in May in our neighborhood! (Naturally my children had to bring one home with them.)

The larva case from a cicada. I love the big buggy eyes, though the red ones on the adults are so much more impressive. Also I love how you can see the little leg barbs so nicely.

The bushes in front of my house are now covered not in flowers but in cicadas. It looks like rain today, and they are very loud; it sounds like someone is shooting phasers at the next town over. I haven't seen a photo that really shows how iridescent their wings are.

They have long legs and feel very substantial when you pick them up -- more like holding an amphibian than holding an insect. But they are very clumsy; they are always falling off leaves and landing on their backs, and they can't roll themselves over! We spend a lot of time just flipping cicadas upright so they can move again.

How To Torture Your Cat. First, have children. Then wait for cicada season. Make certain, when your children bring in their bug jars full of cicadas -- as they are sure to do, no matter how many times you tell them that the jars must stay on the deck -- that the jars end up a low table. (You can guarantee that this will happen by insisting that the table is the one place where they must not leave their jars.)

From this point on you need take no further steps, for your cat(s) will discover the large bugs crawling around and will spend the next hour mewling and batting fruitlessly at the outside of the jar(s), trying to figure out how to get at the cicadas. Even after your children have let the cicadas go, your cats will spend many pesked hours batting at the empty jar trying to figure out what has happened to the bugs. It crawls! It climbs! Obviously it must have world domination on its mind. And without opposable thumbs, there is absolutely nothing a cat can do about it.

Me with a cicada. Now, admittedly I have short stubby fingers, but even so, you can get some sense of their size.

And here's one on my wrist, next to my watch.