A cicada nymph’s exoskeleton in our garden at Jansenville in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.
’n Sonbesie-nimf se leë ‘dop’ in ons tuin op Jansenville in die Oos-Kaap van Suid-Afrika.
Cicadas (Cicadomorpha or Cicadodoidea) are found on all continents except Antarctica. Some 150 of the estimated 3 000 species are found in South Africa. Cicadas are medium-sized to large insects that are famous (or infamous!) for the males’ ‘singing’ abilities. They are quite common but incredibly difficult to catch so they are poorly represented in insect collections. After mating, the female cuts and levers up the surface of a branch and lays the eggs underneath. After hatching, the nymphs drop to the ground and burrow into the soil, aided by their enlarged forelegs, and consume roots and tubers. Cicada nymphs spend a year or more underground feeding on tree roots. When they are ready to emerge as adults, they dig out of the ground, crawl up onto a tree or the side of a building, and shed their exoskeleton or dried ‘skin’ for the last time.
On the top of its head where the skin has split one often can see tiny white threads. Those are the remains of the cicadas breathing tubes, called trachae.
Daar is baie duisende soorte sonbesies (ook genoem sikade, langasem, singbesie, doringbesie of boomsingertjie) op aarde, insekte wat behoort tot die families Tettigarctidae en Cicadidae van die orde van die Halfvlerkiges. Die Cicadidae kom op alle vastelande buiten Antarktika voor. Afrika het nagenoeg 450 spesies en Suid-Afrika is die tuiste van sowat 150 soorte sonbesies.
Kamera CanonEOS 500D Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro Lens