Robinson's Annual Cicada (Neotibicen robinsonianus)
Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Robinson's Annual Cicada.
Updated: 8/24/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Robinson's Annual Cicada can be seen every year, ensuring the sounds of summer and shells of early life are around for humans to enjoy.
Annual Cicadas are around yearly, unlike some other species in the Periodical Cicada group, which are known for their huge swarms every 13 or 17 years. Robinson's Annual Cicadas have a more balanced generational presence. For all the adults seen and heard, there are staggered generations of young hiding underground.
Males will call, or sing, to attract females. A chorus of them creates an iconic whistling/chirping noise only heard in the summertime. This loud singing also attracts predators. Life spans of adults are only a few weeks, so reproduction is the top priority; adults do not eat. After mating, females lay fertilized eggs on leaves. Eggs hatch and the tiny, white ant-like nymphs make their way to the ground where they'll crawl underground and drink from tree roots. They stay underground for years, feeding and growing. As they develop , they molt, shedding their exoskeleton and leave behind brown shells of their former, smaller selves. They eventually move above ground, usually onto the nearest tree or shrub. Their final molt develops wings and adult immediately begin the search for a mate. Every year, nymphs that have finished their time underground rise to the surface to provide young cicadas that will emerge as adults two or three years later.
Cicadas are harmless to people: they do not bite and do not have stingers. They are somewhat slow, clumsy fliers. They can be found anywhere there are trees and shrubs. Brown, crunchy shells are often attached to window screens, tree trunks, wooden posts and even tall grass. These casings are often mistaken for a live cicada. Upon molting, the cicada is somewhat neon green and light tan in color. As it ages, its coloring darkens to black and green.