Death of a Cicada (pics)

Started May 16, 2004 | Discussions thread
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rpc Regular Member • Posts: 453
Death of a Cicada (pics)

I recently posted a series of photos showing the birth of a cicada. However, that cicada was actually a 'backup' for the original cicada I had chosen to document. Unfortunately, the original cicada - after 17 years underground - never completed the transition into adulthood. Mid way through the process, the emerging cicada was repeatedly attacked by what looks like some type of crane fly (although it didn't act like any crane fly I've read about). Each time the crane fly attacked the partially emerged cicada, the cicada would struggle furiously with its legs trying to push the crane fly away. After a minute or two the crane fly would leave, only to return 5-10 minutes later and repeat the attack. Shortly after the third attack, the cicada prematurely dropped out of its shell onto the ground, even though it's wings were still folded and wet and its body still white and soft. It stumbled around on the mulch and repeatedly tumbled over on its back and side and had to struggle hard to right itself. Eventually, its wings unfolded and started to become transparent and I thought it might survive. Unfortunately, by that time the cicada was too weak and ultimately succumbed to other forces of nature.

The earlier thread showing the successful birth of a cicada can be found at http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1034&message=8790210 . Like that series, these photos were taken with an AF Micro Nikkor 55mm 2.8 lens and the internal flash with a diffuser. The aperture was set at f/8 for greater DOF and exposure compensation at -1 for greater latitude in post-processing. All the images are cropped, reduced in size and saved as high compression Jpegs.

I hope you enjoy the photos, if not they depict.

Ralph

The cicada emerging from its larval shell.

Emergence is going smoothly and the folded yellow wings can be seen.

The crane fly in one of three attacks against the cicada.

Following the third attack, the cicada prematurely drops to the ground with it's wings still folded and wet.

After stumbling around on the ground for a while, the wings unfold and start to dry.

The weakened, premature cicada eventually succumbs.

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