Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cicada Feeding

I found a female dog-day cicada (Tibicen canicularis) on the wall of the local Dairy Queen the other night. I must have been a sight going after this thing with a net in town on a busy road. It only took a second and the cicada was in the bag. I instantly knew that it was a female as it didn't squeak when I was handling it. Males will make sounds while being handled supposedly to scare off predators.
Once I got her home I provided a nice fresh twig from a red oak that was placed in water to keep it hydrated. Within minutes she was on the twig and feeding. Cicadas are homopterans and eat by inserting the stylet of their beak into the phloem layer of the bark of tree branches and sucking the nutrient ladened sap through the straw-like mouth parts.

The stylet is between her "elbows" and inserted into the branch. After drinking for 45 minutes she was very active. I released her in the morning when she could see to fly and off she went.
To make this image I took 7 images at f/16 focusing from near to far through the cicada and then used Helicon Focus filter to make the depth of focus composite. The resulting image is probably equivalent to f/128 or more.


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