Friday, July 15, 2016

Summer Bug Explorations

Boys being boys, and my having two of them means that we've seen a lot of bugs this summer.  We have had so many cicadas in our yard.  You never know where you're going to find their exoskeletons!  We've had them on the side of our garden boots, my husband's car tire, the house, etc.  My son, the expert, tells me these are common Dog Day cicadas.  I have to say, they are huge and quite impressive!  These guys can measure up to 2" in length.  Its especially cool when you find one in the midst of hatching out of its shell.  I found just such a specimen early one morning.

I came across him just as he was starting to emerge.  He's belly up at this point.  My little expert also tells me that this is a male because of his little cymbal flaps for making the super loud noise they're famous for.  Its how he attacks his mate.  Some people say the sound reminds them of a power saw.  It is certainly loud enough.  See how tiny his little wings are?

Just a few minutes later, his wings have fully unfurled and are almost dry.  He also somehow managed to flip over so he's not belly up any longer.

Now he's just waiting to fully dry before flying off, leaving his empty shell behind.  His color will darken and he'll turn either brown or black.  They vary greatly in color.  He will only live for a few weeks at best, but he'll be very busy during that time trying to continue the species.  Very cool!

This particular bug would make a great subject for any budding bug enthusiasts to study.  They are found everywhere, they big and impressive, and they don't bite.  There are lots of different species and some live underground for as many as 17 years!  You could create your own unit study, notebook pages, or even a lap book.  Happy learning!