Illustration 3 General Topics: Cicadas

A cicada  is an insect of the order Hemiptera, suborder Auchenorrhyncha (which was formerly included in the now invalid order Homoptera), in the superfamily Cicadoidea, with large eyes wide apart on the head and usually transparent, well-veined wings. There are about 2,500 species of cicada around the world, and many of them remain unclassified. Cicadas live in temperate to tropical climates where they are among the most widely recognized of all insects, mainly due to their large size and unique sound. Cicadas are often colloquially called locusts,[1] although they are unrelated to true locusts, which are a kind of grasshopper. Cicadas are related to leafhoppers and spittlebugs.

Cicadas are benign to humans under normal circumstances and do not bite or sting in a true sense, but may mistake a person’s arm or other part of their body for a tree or plant limb and attempt to feed. Cicadas have a long proboscis under their head which they insert into plant stems in order to feed on sap. It can be painful if they attempt to pierce a person’s skin with it, but it is unlikely to cause other harm. It is unlikely to be a defensive reaction and is a rare occurrence. It usually only happens when they are allowed to rest on a person’s body for an extended amount of time.

Cicadas can cause damage to several cultivated crops, shrubs, and trees, mainly in the form of scarring left on tree branches while the females lay their eggs deep in branches. Many people around the world regularly eat cicadas. They are known to have been eaten in Ancient Greece as well as China, Malaysia, Burma, Latin America, and the Congo.  Female cicadas are prized for being meatier.  Shells of cicadas are employed in the traditional medicines of China.

Personal thoughts:  Cicadas are annoying.  But several people i know are in love with them.  After reading this article, it turn out that they are actually interesting.  Myths and beliefs from reincarnation to immortality have been passed down years in other cultures.  Some people even eat them.  The simple facts on them alone are interesting.  For instance there song can cause people to lose their hearing if it was close enough.  They are still annoying but a bit more interesting than before.

Related Links:

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/insect/05590.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cicada

http://www.cicadamania.com/cicadas/


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