A Lifelike Skeleton

Pictured here is a strange insect sitting absolutely still on the side of the tree. At a closer look however, this is in fact not a live bug but rather the exoskeleton of a cicada!

This exoskeleton is known as an exuviae and remains behind perfectly intact once the cicada has shed it’s skin in order to grow and expand. Once shed the exuviae hardens and takes on a very lifelike appearance. The metamorphosis process from egg to adult cicada usually takes around 2 years. The eggs will hatch into cicada nymphs which exist under the ground, and once the nymphs reach maturity they dig to the surface where they emerge as fat juicy bugs which cannot fly.

This is the time when they are most vulnerable. Only once they shed their exoskeleton do the wings grow and emerge allowing the adult cicada to fly off where they have a short lived existence consisting of singing and mating.



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