Cicada

Cicada Facts
Size 0.4 - 4.3 inch (1 - 11 cm)
Speed Unknown
Weight Unknown
Lifespan 13 - 17 years (Singing cicada Magicicada)
Food Sap of plants and trees
Predators Mantis, digger wasp
Habitat Worldwide
Order Hemiptera
Suborder Cicada
Scientific name Auchenorrhyncha
Characteristics Very loud insect

There exist more than 45,000 cicada species and they greatly vary in their physical appearance – for instance beautiful and multicolored cicadellinae, treehoppers with their knobbly pronotum and loudly chirping singing cicadas.

A Cicada’s Diet

Cicadas feed on the sap of plants. They simply stick their proboscis into the plant like a straw and “drink” from it. Very useful!

Cicada Cicada - Photo: Elliotte Rusty Harold/Shutterstock

The World’s Loudest Insect

The chirping of African singing cicadas can reach up to 106.7 decibel and can be heard at distances of several hundred kilometers. Mostly it sounds a bit like a broken power supply line.

High Jump World Record

The meadow froghopper can jump up to 27.5 inch (70 cm) high. Therefore it holds high jump record among insects.

Why Do Cicadas Sing?

They do it to attract females or to point out the borders of their territories.

Cicada Cicada - Photo: boyphare/Shutterstock

Singing Cicadas and Prime Numbers

Singing cicadas only mate every 13 or 17 years. For quite a long time scientists did not know the reason for this. Why 13, why 17 years?

Well, most of the singing cicada’s enemies mate in intervals of 2, 4 or 6 years.

If cicadas had the same cycle, too many of them would fall prey to hungry young animals. The cycle of 13 or 17 years significantly increases their chances to survive.

Where Do Cicadas Live?

Basically everywhere in the world except in the Arctics and Antarctic regions. There it is simply too cold for them and they do not find any food. Cicadas such as the meadow froghopper also live in Europe, but the chirping singing cicadas can only be found in Africa.

The Largest and the Smallest Cicada

The body of the Empress cicada is 2.7 - 4.3 inch (7 - 11 cm) long and has a wingspan of 7 - 7.8 inch (18 - 20 cm). Thus, it is the largest cicada of the world. The smallest cicadas include the leafhoppers and the delphacidae with a body length of just 0.07 inch (2 mm).

Cicada Cicada - Photo: Rene Bechard/Shutterstock

Yummy!

Cicadas are considered as delicious food in Australia, Thailand, Japan, China, Burma, Africa, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea.

Cicada Cicada - Photo: Ogrim/Shutterstock


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