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Paralyzed cicadas in Gainesville, GA

Sightings Category: Cicadas

Paralyzed cicadas in Gainesville, GA

I found these two paralyzed cicadas sitting on the concrete in front of our retaining walls (where all the cicada killers live). I brought them inside hoping that we could save them, but I soon found out that they stay paralyzed. The smaller one is occasionally trying to buzz its wings when I move him, and the larger one will shift a leg or two. I assumed the bright green/black one was a male because it is so pretty, and the bronze/black one was female. I have noticed that the markings are different on their heads are also different.

Date Posted: 2012-07-02 Comments: (2) Show Comments Hide Comments


Posted By: Massachusetts Cicadas | On: 2012-07-04 | Website:

Hi Kelly,

Thanks for the cool photos of some cicadas stung by cicada killers. The one on the left is the species known as Tibicen lyricen. But it is a variation on that species due to its dark color and "anchor-shaped" light brown spot behind and in the center of the eyes. This one is known as Tibicen lyricen var. engelhardti.

The one on the right is very nice indeed. It is known as Tibicen tibicen. This species has gone through a recent name change. It was previously known as Tibicen chloromerus.

You also have another species that is very similar to the one on the right known as Tibicen australis. Those large white spots at the base of the abdomen are indicative of that species. If you had more photos I could tell further.

You are correct, these cicadas are very much alive. The female cicada killer that stung them wants them fresh. For she would take them back to her burrow (or in your case hole in the retaining wall) and lay an egg on the fresh cicada. The larva would then hatch and eat the paralyzed cicada.

The reason why you found them on the ground is probably due to the fact that they did not fit in the entrance to the cicada killer females' burrow. This happens a lot.

Cicada killers are a useful tool in studying the species of cicadas that can be found in an area. Just sit there and watch them and steal the cicadas away from them.

Thanks again for sharing.

Posted By: Al | On: 2021-09-18 | Website:

Two of them, in front of your retaining walls? Why are they paralyzed? Do you know?

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