Another Cicada Molt

Last night, I wandered outside around nine-thirty. A thin layer of clouds framed the moon, a cool breeze stirred the leaves, and the yard smelled like fresh-cut grass. I meant only to enjoy a late night ramble with the dog. So I was unprepared for this molting cicada. No camera. No shoes. No mosquito repellent.

After a few chaotic moments of rushing from room to room, tripping over the excited dog (she didn’t understand our new game, but did her best to play along), and dropping things that are too fragile to be dropped very often, I made it back to the fence in time to catch most of the molt.

My only regret is that I couldn’t find the mosquito repellent…

15 thoughts on “Another Cicada Molt

  1. Sharon Poch August 4, 2012 / 12:29 PM

    Rae, no where else would I experience you’ve just shared. Thank you.

  2. lynnwyvill August 4, 2012 / 11:12 AM

    You must have moved mighty fast to get these great photos! I never seem to have a camera when I need one, either, except, unlike you, I’m usually miles from the house. Mosquito bites? Hate ’em, but I rub white vingar on them. You smell like salad for a couple of minutes, but it takes the itch away for me.

    • Rae Spencer August 4, 2012 / 11:24 AM

      I don’t itch as bad as expected, thankfully!

    • Rae Spencer August 4, 2012 / 2:30 AM

      It certainly seemed like a miracle to me. The yard felt peaceful and calm, during the cicada’s emergence, as if the transformation of this single insect mattered.

  3. lamehousewife August 3, 2012 / 10:03 PM

    Oh my goodness! Is that a big bug or what? Wow!

    • Rae Spencer August 4, 2012 / 2:06 AM

      I was surprised, when I saw it the last time, at how big the adult cicada looked next to its discarded “skin”. Those last few hours before molting must be really uncomfortable!

      • lamehousewife August 4, 2012 / 10:40 AM

        It’s like being born:) Thank you for all of the beautiful pictures you share. I really enjoy the beauty of nature that you are able to capture. Blessings…

  4. jeaniemac100 August 3, 2012 / 8:35 PM

    Oh my gosh, Rae. This is incredible. How long did it take him?

    • Rae Spencer August 3, 2012 / 9:53 PM

      It seemed like he needed to rest a while, after getting his head and thorax free. About thirty minutes passed between the first and fourth photos. He hung half out of his old skin, legs in the air, and hardly moved at all during that time. Then he reached up, grabbed onto the old skin, and pulled himself upright. His wings unfurled as he wiggled his abdomen free, which all happened pretty fast compared to the rest of the process. Only about five minutes passed between the fourth and fifth photos. I left after that, but couldn’t resist checking in on him every so often. The final photo was taken two hours later.

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