Dog Day Cicada (Tibicen canicularis)
Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Dog Day Cicada.
Updated: 2/28/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The Dog-Day Cicada cover neighborhoods in massive numbers desperate to reproduce before its short adult life ends.
Seen frequently on the hottest days of the summer, the Dog-Day Cicada is a harmless insect that happens to be a delightful food item for many other animals. Raccoons, wasps and other insects feast on the cicada all season long. Adult cicadas have a call that sounds like a circular saw tearing through wood, and in large numbers, that noise can be almost deafening during the day and at night. This particular species seems to prefer pines and its presence will disappear from an area once all pine trees are harvested or dead.
The adult Dog Day Cicada is dark brown or black. A gold mark on the thorax is shaped like two 'V's. A green band at the back of the head stretches into its large wings. The eyes stick out of the sides of the head. Adults are not known to eat. Instead, they focus their energy on reproducing during their short lifespans. It breeds, lays eggs on branches in trees, and then it dies. Larvae hatch from the eggs and fall to the ground, burrowing down into the earth to mature. They may drink fluids from tree roots.
After growing underground for a time, they resurface and the young nymphs will molt (shed) their exoskeleton in order to become longer and thicker. The cicada bursts out the back of its old exoskeleton, leaving it to dry out in place. These dried-out, crunchy brown 'shells' of the younger nymph look just like a living cicada, and it's not uncommon to see them clutching onto tree trunks, on plant stems, soffits, gutters, window screens, and even blades of tall grass. It takes 3 years for nymphs to become an adult.