Brood XIV of the seventeen year cicada is here, and while feeding chickens, William discovered them crawling out of a stump of a tree.
William would like to comment that with the black spots, it looks very much like General Grievious (Grievous, actually but he insists it is Grievious) of Star Wars.
We found them in various stages of emergence. Here Daisy is investigating a nymph that has just come up out of the ground and is rock wall climbing to find a good place to begin its transformation. Next to it, is one that has begun splitting it's shell.
When they first come out, they are very white. An unnamed teen in our house said they were gross and they looked naked.
Having successfully gotten out of its shell, the cicada now sits and dries its wings. I wonder what process occurs to change it from the white cicada above, to the finished black cicada below.
This cicada we took back to the house to watch it "hatch". It is a very slow process. The cicadas seem to be very vunerable at this stage, as they can't really move once they start the final process. We found that the chickens loved eating them. In fact, did you know that cicadas are eaten by humans? In case you are inspired to cook up a batch, I found many recipes on the web. I can just see it now. Mom, what's for dinner? Cicada tacos. Right. Perhaps if I were starving and it was like, oh, 1100 A.D. and Kroger wasn't down the road with perfectly good chicken breasts all cleaned and ready to cook.
From the recipe: "Before you start your cooking you need to remove all the hard parts: "Before you start your cooking you need to remove all the hard parts: wings, legs and head. These parts don’t contain much of the meat either but may be very sharp, so its best to get rid of them. Right. Now, I don't eat things I have to coax out, like oysters, crab legs, etc. Call me spoiled, but I just don't visualize myself pulling the wings off of live insects and popping them in the oven on a cookie sheet for a tasty treat or frying them up in a pan. Gag. I did find a recipe for chocolate covered cicadas, which maybe would be a possibility. Nah, why spoil a good thing?
Back to science lessons, we downloaded some good diagrams and information from EnchantedLearning.com and spent the day hearing from William, "MOM. COME LOOK!" He determined that he could not climb his favorite tree without squishing cicadas, or really even walk in the grass. The most amazing thing to think about for me is that this variety of cicada laid the eggs for this brood before my kids were born, before we moved here, and when I was newly married. All done seventeen years ago on days when I was busy in my life, unknowing that 20 miles from where I lived, insects were busy preparing a science lesson for me and a little boy not yet born.