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A Brief Guide to Cicadas

The small cicadas, the Cicadaidea superfamily, are in the order Auchenorrhyna. They're in the suborder Hemiptera and are smaller than the cicada moths. In fact, they're much smaller than the smallest cicada, the Cicada aequifemorum, which can grow up to five inches long. The Cicada aequifemorum is the only species of cicada that has a wing membrane, which makes it the largest member of the Hemiptera superfamily.


Unlike their close relatives, which live on the ground in burrows, the cicadas live in tree trunks and tunnels and are wingless and very tiny animals. Their wings are composed of a thin shaft of hair attached to their body by a narrow 'pore'.


The small cicada's body is red or brown, with a rounded tail, a narrow head, and small eyes that are surrounded by transparent, blackish-white skin. The female's body is pink and has small white dots at the base of her wings, while the male's body is brown and has prominent black markings.




The Cicadaidae family contains more than 400 species, all belonging to the genus Cicadidae, including the smallest of the insect world - the Coccidium mexicanum. Cicadids are found in tropical, sub-tropical environments, though there are some species that live in more temperate areas.


The insects' life cycle involves several stages: from egg to nymph, to adult, to pupa, to cocoon, and finally to pupa again, each stage of the life cycle being linked to various stages of food preparation involves feeding, molting stages. A large group of Cicadas (up to twenty-five cicadas per female) is able to reproduce an egg, followed by two or three nymphs before emerging as an adult. The adult Cicada is a wingless egg, surrounded by one hundred and ten egg sacs.


One species of small female insects, the Cicada aequifolia, can fertilize an egg twice, resulting in more than one hundred eggs. The eggs hatch into nymphs called nymphs, who begin to look for a suitable host to eat the nymphal tissues, and eventually into adult Cicadas.


When it's time to feed, the food is regurgitated and is consumed in tiny pellets. Cicadas can be eaten raw, fried or boiled.


There are certain parts of the world that offer excellent conditions for Cicadas. In the Southern Hemisphere, the weather is dry and cool, and the soil is rich with organic matter. This provides a perfect environment for this insect. In this part of the world, there are no large animals or insects to eat, and thus the cicada population is kept to very low numbers, while in the Northern Hemisphere, which has a lot of wildlife, the conditions are not ideal.


The United States is a very good source for these insects and has a big population of these creatures. They prefer the North American regions of the east coast, where there is plenty of vegetation and warm weather.


The best place for feeding cicadas is the ground; however, you should not place them close to water, because it might cause them to drown. Since cicadas are nocturnal, their food sources are not readily apparent, so they may not be seen until late afternoon or early evening.


There are three main food preparation methods that help the new winged cicada grow to maturity, molting being the last one. These methods are feeding, molting and eating.


Food preparation involves the molting of the body, making sure to place only the head, thorax and abdomen together in the cage, then cleaning the entire cage with a solution to remove any leftover molting remains. After molting, food is spread over the cage.

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