Monday, August 2, 2010
This mammoth insect, at least 1.5 inches long including wings, was hanging out on the screen this morning. After exclaiming, "Holy bleep, what the bleep is that?!!!" (though I'm sure I've seen these before from time to time), I looked it up in my Rodale's Color Handbook of Garden Insects. It seems to be a cidaca -- quite possibly the "dog day cicada," which emerges annually in mid to late summer. The famous periodical cicadas, which disappear for years and then reappear in large quantities on a predictable cycle such as every 13 or 17 years, are said to emerge earlier in the summer.
Identifying features of the cicada are its large size (.75 to 2.25 inches), a wide, blunt head with prominent eyes (you can see them bulging on either end of the head in this photo), and the length of the transparent wings relative to the body. Read more about cicadas at the National Geographic website.