Sunday, 24 January 2016

The Ghosts of Summer

On about the second or third day after I migrated to Australia, I went for a drive into the hills beyond Melbourne.  That was the first day I ever heard the screaming buzz of thousands of cicadas, forming a kind of rhythmic background noise to a hot day.  That noise had be synonymous with hot days ever since.

Cicadas spend much of their lives in the soil as nymphs, before they crawl up some convenient  object and burst, alien like, from their own skin to become the adults we hear, not do not often see.  This means that the discarded shells of the last nymphal stage of their lives is the most commonly seem aspect of these insects lives.

Lord Howe Island has just one species of cicada, and what it lacks in size it makes up for in noise! They were the dominant sound on the island during our most recent trip to the Island.  At times the noise would start up like somebody had flicked a switch - and it could also fall silent in a similar way.

These are not shots of the adult, but just the abandoned cases.



In both pictures I choose not to get too close to the 'skin' as I think a little distance gives them a better feel for how you find them.

You can find more macro shots (if this is what these are) at Macro Monday and I love Macro

17 comments:

amanda | wildly simple said...

I've never seen (or heard!) a cicada, but we do have May Flies, that shed their exoskeletons like this. I have to admit I'm fascinated by them! I like how your photos show them in context, the way they were left behind.

Florida Farm Girl said...

Oh, what memories. As a child those cicada shells served good purpose as my cows in my make believe barn. After all, I am a farm girl. And, there's another more recent story about their noise but thats for another time.

Margaret Adamson said...

They can be nearly deafening. Good shots of the cases.

Lea said...

We have cicadas here in USA, a few every year. Then every 13 years there are thousands of them! Tremendous noise and empty shells everywhere.
Hope you are having a great day!
Lea

eileeninmd said...

Hello Stewart, I always hear the cicadas here but hardly ever see them. They are a little creepy. Great shots. Happy Sunday, enjoy your new week ahead!

Fun60 said...

I have heard them many times (not in England, I hasten to add)but I have never seen one. I didn't realise they walk out of their skins, probably because I have given it no thought! These are really interesting and informative photos. Thanks.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Loved hearing the cicadas again on my recent visit to The Bottom... these are great shots Stewart - particularly love the second one. YAM xx

John @ Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

I've been to many places and heard the wonderful sound (some may think not so wonderful) but we don't have them where I live (sad face here). I like the comment of Florida Farm Girl using them as her cows in her make-believe barn.

Missy George said...

Yes, we have those as well..The noise can be overwhelming at times..Great shots Stewart..

carol l mckenna said...

Excellent macro shots ~ how quickly the season come and go ~ huh?

Wishing you a Happy Week ~ ^_^

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I don't think we have cicadas in the Pacific Northwest, at least I'd never heard them until one summer when we went to Dallas for a convention. We could hear this weird buzzy sound everywhere each time we walked outside ... it didn't sound like anything we'd ever heard in nature so at first we thought it was some kind of mechanical thing. Somebody finally told us about them.

Lee said...

The wonderful sounds of silence, Nature...and cicadas. :)

TexWisGirl said...

my dogs love to munch these exoskeletons. :)

Vineeta Yashswi said...

Now I can feel the voice of cicada...

edenhills said...

It's always creepie to see those hollow skins. Nice captures.

Laura said...

Good photos of the cicada casings Stewart… the remains of transformation, their song too a message of change on the way. Thanks so much for sharing the love up-close with I Heart Macro ♥

Singhania Razorse said...

Nice blog and very informative thank you for sharing such a great blog.
Thank You