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Major Cicada Score at Fairview - Westford, Ma

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Major Cicada Score at Fairview - Westford, Ma

Robot and Cicada

Well folks, this is my first major score of the season. The evening didn't start out like I wanted. I started out at St. Patrick Cemetery in Lowell Ma. This is the place where I found my very first Cicada tenerals back in 2004 when I first got interested in cicadas. There was nary a cicada nymph or teneral to be found.

T. lyricen nymph on headstoneAt around 10:30pm I decided to go to another cemetery which I started to frequent back in 2005 called Fairview Cemetery in Westford, MA. Here is where I hit the jackpot!! I know it may seem creepy to be in cemeteries at night but around here, cemeteries must be open 24 hours a day for the public so you can basically go any time you want. There is no ground clutter, just grass and many old well established trees.

T. canicularis on maple tree.I recovered 3 T. lyricen nymphs, 6 T. lyricen tenerals and 2 T. canicularis tenerals. They were all over the headstones in the cemetery in various stages of molting. Some were on the tree trunks too. That's a pretty good haul I should say.

Emerging T. lyricen teneral on headstone.There were so many cicadas emerging and so many nymphs I had to leave another 10 or so cicadas in various stages of molting. It was just getting too damn late.

A Potential Tragedy Averted.

T. canicularis nymph a maple tree. I almost had a tragedy tonight with one of the nymphs. I was hurrying to get it back home so I could put it in a mesh bag on a branch and then let it eclose in the bag, but it just started to molt on its back in the plastic tray I usually carry around to keep nymphs in.

When I got back home and opened the tray, it was laying half-way out of its nymphal shell!! This actually happened to me once before back in 2004 with a T. canicularis nymph I got from St. Patrick cemetery.

T. lyricen on a headstone.So what I did was pick up the cicada still half way in its shell up by the abdomen of the exuvia and just held it between my thumb and forefinger. Unfortunately though when it leaned way back like they do (click the thumbnail to the left) it completely fell out of the exuvia and landed smack on my computer keyboard!!

Cicadas once they lean back have a tendancy to stay that way for about a half hour so. It was laying on its back on my keyboard in a dormant state. During this time, what needs to happen is the legs have to harden sufficiently enough in order to support its own weight and to do that famous situp to grab their shell.

T. lyricen teneral on robot gun.Since it was on its back, it couldn't do the situp because there was no shell to grab!! Being on your back on the ground is very bad for the wings. They are finer than tissue paper so if they are disturbed in the least while they fill with blood they get damaged. I was really worried about this one's wings.

T. lyricen teneral on robot gun.So what I did was wait. And I waited and waited. You can't rush a cicada when it is waiting for its legs to harden. Finally after about a half-hour, it started to move its legs like it was trying to get up, I took a toy gun from a japanese robot that I have. (I collect japanese robot toys as well) and let it grab the gun, then took the gun and put it in the hand of the japanese toy it came from. I left it on the toy for a few hours and went back to the cemetery to get more cicada tenerals.

When I got back to the cemetery, there were even more nymphs around but I just left them alone and just took the cicadas that were nearly completing the molting process.

Robot and CicadaI just walked in the door about a half hour ago (It is now 4 am) and I need to get to bed but suffice it to say when I got back to check on the female, its wings formed perfectly!! That's really great when they do that!

Date Posted: 2007-07-13 Comments: (0) Show CommentsHide Comments


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