The world has housed a lot of interesting creatures since its formation. It contains a lot of species that dominate the lands, the waters, and even the air around us. A creature occupies every single space on the earth. These creatures exist side by side with humans. It is fascinating to know that some of these creatures existed even before mankind was fully developed.
The history of earth will unravel many interesting facts about the various species that exist on earth. One such species of creature are insects. Insects have co-existed with mankind for a very long time. They can survive in the toughest of conditions that humans could not even dare to face.
One such famous example is the cockroaches of the modern world. They can survive even a nuclear war. Like this, there are a lot of other insects that have their share of abilities and contributions, which make them a lot interesting to look into.
One such important member of the insect species is the cicada. There are a lot of facts that are related to cicadas. One answers this article’s famous question, “Are Cicadas Blind?“. So sit back and broaden your knowledge of Cicadas without any further delay.
1) About Cicadas
Before answering the true question of whether are Cicadas blind, let us get to know more about their origination.
The Cicadas, scientifically known as the Cicadoidea, is one of the most well-known tree bugs known to exist in this world far before human formation. These insects set foot on earth 300 Million years ago approximately.
They belong to one of the most famous groups of insect species in our world. Cicadas have more than 3000 species, having the tiniest of variations here and there. All the 3000 species have their very own distinctive characteristics to stand out.
The Cicada insect group is also associated with famous jumping insects such as grasshoppers and froghoppers.
Cicadas are the owners of a well-defined body structure. With their sharp eyes and well-formed wing membrane, cicadas are one of the most complicated insect forms in today’s world.
They usually spend most of their lives as underground nymphs, and a lot of their time is well-spent underground before they reach maturity. They tend to feed on roots and other minerals found in soil. They grow to an extent where their whole body gets developed. After they turn active to undertake reproduction, they come out of land and start to live their lives as they must be lived.
During their time underground, cicadas develop many body parts, enabling many features. Cicadas come out of the soil when the temperature reaches 64 degrees Fahrenheit. Male cicadas are the first ones to get out of the soil first. It is shortly followed by the female cicadas a few days later. Now, one can differentiate a male from a female by looking at its underbelly portion. Male cicadas lack a thing which we call the ovipositor. It is only available for female cicadas.
Another interesting feature owned by these insects is known as Tymbals. They have their Tymbals formed in large sizes. These Tymbals of an insect are its exoskeletal structure. This particular thing enables an insect to produce or emit sound into the atmosphere. The insects having large and strong Tymbals are the ones to produce the loudest of sounds. Cicadas belong to that group of insects.
Most of the Cicadas always prefer to stay out of sight. It avoids getting into contact with other species of insects and animals. This behaviour of Cicadas can be identified as a survival strategy to escape the sight of dangerous predators who threaten the Cicadas. Cicadas are tree bugs. Most of their life activity revolves around places where many trees are located. It is rare for a person to witness a cicada in its adult form.
An adult cicada is known to end its life in a single habitat. These insects lay eggs and form a community in their habitats, making their presence even stronger.
Cicadas can be found in most regions belonging to the countries like the United States of America and Australia.
2) Are Cicadas Blind ?
Now answering the prime question of this article, are cicadas blind? The primary reason for such a question is due to the Cicadas flying behaviour. Most of the time, you can witness a cicada flying into you. This was the most famous reason to question the cicada’s vision.
It will be quite surprising to learn about Cicada’s vision. They don’t have a single eye or a pair. They have five eyes equipped with good vision capacity.
They have two large eyes, which function as their main senses of vision. These are the most important elements in enabling insects to see as they fly. In addition to this pair of big obvious eyes, they have three things called ocelli, which are gems. These gem-like eyes are situated between the big obvious eyes of the Cicada. These Ocelli are believed to detect light and darkness whenever needed. They help a cicada detect darkness and light available at close range and long range.
By this, we can finally conclude that cicadas are not blind insects, to be precise. They have a very strong and powerful vision. Coming to the reasoning part, if Cicadas are not blind and equipped with the finest of vision, why do they fly into people? It must not be intentional, though. It must’ve been an accident. But whatever it is, let us find a reason for this particular accident which tends to happen frequently between people and Cicadas.
3) Why Do They Fly Into People?
Cicadas own a very well-defined body structure, enabling them to handle difficult wind currents. Most Cicadas fly around with this powerful wing structure in locations with many hardwood trees and woody shrubs. They are mostly in search of trees and shrubs not for survival but for reproduction. Many Cicadas search for mates during their popular seasons, from June to August.
Young cicada nymphs come out of the ground to search for a place to settle. After settling in a specific place that suits and provides every need, they will move on to the next stage. Survival is the most basic need of a creature. And when that is assured and fully provided for, the creature will automatically move onto the next stage of survival which consists of a bit of purpose of luxury. We are talking about reproduction here. A lot of male Cicadas go in search of female Cicadas during this particular season.
For reproduction, the mates involved in reproducing first need a place to settle. This is where the accident starts. Male cicadas go in search of places to settle and reproduce. This quest to find a place to reproduce will leave them hanging in the air for a long time. They go on a critical search to find the most optimal location, a tree, or any other greenery.
Many cicadas who search these places will tend to dash on people. Some of the Cicadas might even fly toward and land on you. They might stick to you. It is believed that Cicadas find humans quite resembling a lot of trees. Cicadas mistake humans for small trees. This could also be a reason for them to fly into and settle on you. This reason might be funny, but it is the way it is. Let us look at some other interesting facts about this spectacular insect species.
4) More Facts about Cicadas
4.1) Cicadas Have an Interesting Life Cycle
Cicadas are really interesting creatures. What makes them a lot more unique from the other insect species is that they appear on land every 17 years. They begin their lives as tiny nymphs living under the land. They usually feed on plant roots and other sources of energy under the soil. Later after a fully grown stage, these creatures get out from the underground. They move away from the soil and let their wings free. They start to fly into the atmosphere in search of necessities.
Now the period taken by them to get out of the underground fully is pretty long. Many people have been curious about what the cicadas do underground for a long time. Well, the obvious answer to that question is they grow. Yes, they just try to develop underground. They try to find the nutrients they can underground. Cicadas which find their way out of the soil before growing fully, have very lesser chances of survival.
All adult cicadas tend to come out of the ground, especially from June to August. They go in search of necessities and then start to reproduce.
People have categorized the cicadas into specific broods. Broods identify the group of insects that come out of land during a particular period. These cicadas, which appear once, will reproduce and lay eggs. These eggs hatch and create the next generation of Cicadas, which will again come out of underground after the next 17 years.
4.2) Cicadas Are Blessed With A Big Lifespan
Cicadas are one of the luckiest insects, with a lifespan of over 15 years. On average, many Cicada nymphs have a lifespan of about 13-17 years. Unlike all the other typical tree bugs like the bark beetles and Aphids, Cicadas tend to grow quite a bit longer, outliving the other ones of its category.
These periodical Cicadas are the ones that emerge from the land. All the cicada eggs are poached under the earth. They then grow into bigger nymphs. Nymphs are the much smaller version of a fully grown insect (Cicadas in this case)
Now, these nymphs, which spend most of their time underground, work on sucking and absorbing plant nutrients through their roots. These Cicadas shed their exoskeletons more than five times now and then. This process is named moulting by scientific researchers and experts.
When they reach a particular maturity stage in their lifespan, they get out of the ground and climb trees near them. They ate the nutrients from tree roots for a living. They climb these trees and settle on a branch till they grow wings. Their body parts start to grow slowly during this period, allowing them to become competent to survive on land and in the atmosphere.
Some of these Cicadas dig and return to the soil they originally came from during a particular season.
4.3) The World Has More than 3000 Variations of Cicadas
As said before, the insect group of Cicadas is not limited to a single variation. They have a species count of more than three thousand. To be precise, the world currently has about 3400 species of Cicadas spread in every region available.
Now, all these Cicadas don’t have the same lifespan of about 17 years. Every species tend to emerge from land with a variation every two to five years from each other’s emergence. Most of these Cicadas tend to emerge from the land at the same time as well. This has made them the most fed entities to small predators like birds and squirrels.
Cicadas emerge on a very large scale. They flood the streets and air during a certain season. This has facilitated the survival of small bird groups such as the sparrows.
Cicadas have a lot of predators who feast on them. It is because they are the easiest to hunt down. But we cannot hesitate to highlight that Cicadas will be the primary food source for all the small predators from June to August.
4.4) Cicadas Are Loud, Like Really Loud
A lot of insects tend to emit strong sounds. Every insect has its very own sound to communicate. All the big insects that fall in the bug category of the insect variety will always have a certain sound to them.
Now, cicadas are famous tree bugs. Cicadas feed on tree roots, as said before. They won’t emit a sound underground. But they are one of the loudest creatures one could ever witness when they are on land. In fact, Cicadas are recorded as the loudest of insects witnessed by humans.
A human ear will find a lawn mower quite loud; in comparison, it is said that the sound of cicadas is louder than that of an average lawn mower.
The cicadas tend to use a part of them called the Tymbals. These Tymbals help the cicadas to produce sound. Cicadas usually give out sounds to initiate the process of reproduction. They use Tymbals to give out their mating calls.
Now this sound can be heard from quite a distance. Scientists are figuring out how these creatures can make such loud sounds with minimal effort. This sound emission technique of cicadas will be useful in the military field. The method could help in the underwater functioning of the armed forces.
4.5) They Have Dangerous Fungus on Their Back
Cicadas can be found with dangerous fungi developed right on their backs. Now, this fungus is considered to be dangerous because it is a famous insect killer. We call the fungi the Ophiyocordyceps.
This particular fungus will work on numbing the ones (insects) which contact it first. Later, it turns the insect into a lifeless creature and makes mushrooms grow out of their bodies. Quite bizarre to imagine, right? It is usually considered a defence mechanism for cicadas when they face threats from other insect groups. Well, this particular fungi cannot be found in every cicada.
This fungus was first found in Japanese Cicadas. Its purpose was to regulate the insect’s sugary diet, and the researchers did not see it as a defence mechanism in the beginning.
Nearly five per cent of cicadas in existence are affected by this fungus. The fungus looks like a chalky substance, white in colour. This fungus can spread from one insect to another through mating also. Ophiyocordyceps is also considered a psychedelic substance in some parts of the world.
At times, this particular fungi will influence the cicada’s body negatively. Instead of acting as a defence mechanism, the fungus might rarely react to its host. Their brains will turn numb, and they will turn into lifeless creatures. Soon, mushrooms will grow out of their heads, turning them into something much more fertile but without life.
These are some of the interesting facts which are associated with this splendid insect group. Cicadas stand out from the regular insect groups out there due to their mannerism which is quite unique and outstanding than the others. There is a lot to know about Cicadas, and I’m quite sure that you got the answer to the question of whether are cicadas blind in this article. We’ve filled you in with the basic information about them in this article. Feel free to check out the related article, and learn all about the biggest spider in the world brought to you by Icytales.