Periodical Cicada Flagging - The End is Near!

July 1, 2014

“All good things must come to an end” and that includes the cicada emergence of 2014.  Most of us will be sad to see them go, though many living in the midst of the emergence will be relieved that the cacophony of cicada singing will soon be over.

The adults that began to emerge in the last week of May are starting to die of old age after their brief 4 weeks above ground.  But before they go, the females lay their eggs in the twigs of a wide variety of plants (more than 75 species of trees and shrubs!).  Photo 1 below shows a female cicada in the process of inserting eggs into a stem.  The ovipositor (egg-laying organ) originates from about the middle of the female's abdomen.  Each female lays up to 400 eggs by inserting about 10 eggs per slit into as many as 40 to 50 slits.  The eggs are fairly deep inside the twigs and stems with a double row of eggs, one on each side of the slit. 

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