Cicadas in the USA are special insects that spend most of their lives underground and emerge once every 17 years or so to breed and disperse. the grubs climb out of the soil and up onto trees grass and walls. normally, we find the golden husks all over the place some time during the summer as we start hearing the buzzing sound of the adults in the trees.

Cicada Emergence in Oxford Ohio
Cicada shell after emergence in Oxford Ohio

But before the adult can fly away, it has to squeeze its way out of that old exoskeleton and pump it’s bodily fluids into its wings to prepare for flight.

Cicada emergence in Oxford, Ohio
A Cicada in Oxford Ohio erupting from its exoskeleton
Cicada Emergence in Oxford Ohio
Freshly emerged Cicada in Oxford Ohio

This can take quite awhile. and if you get up early enough you can find several of them near their former skins. After awhile, they gain the color of their adult form and do not stay the milky white of their first emergence.

Cicada emergence in Oxford, Ohio

In northern climates, the 17 year cycle may help the insects avoid predation. It would be difficult for predators to specialize on them because they are so unreliable year to year.

In the Bahamas however, Cicada emergence is a yearly phenomenon and lets you know summer is here. The Gray Kingbirds, in particular, love them. you can often see the birds with a large cicada in their beak smacking it against a branch or powerline to remove the legs before taking it to the nest or swallowing it hole.

Gray Kingbird eating cicada (13)
Gray Kingbird with Cicada

This is one example of a piece of natural history knowledge that may be accurate in north america, but not necessarily true everywhere. HAving local scientists in the Bahamas can help discover more differences in animal behavior throughout their ranges.