Cicada Molting – May 22, 2021

Video by Mary Free, Extension Master Gardener

Over the span of about fifty minutes, various stages of a molting Brood X cicada clinging to the trunk of an old oak tree were recorded. (This is not the full molt in time lapse.) Although it emerges from its nymphal shell in normal fashion, its final exit is unconventional: instead of grabbing on to its exoskeleton and pulling itself out, the cicada just drops to the ground–observed but not captured on video. It lands at the base of the trunk among other exoskeletons–some abandoned, some not–as it struggles to right itself and continue on its journey. Cicadas provide the background din. Video © Mary Free

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