Cicadas singing

Not a bird this time, but a beetle that makes bush walking painful to the ears in the summer months around Sydney. The piercing noise of cicadas is familiar to most Sydney-siders. In this video, you can hear them all round you, and see one close-up pulsating its abdomen to make the noise.

The insect is quite large – about the length of your thumb – and has transparent, lacy wings:


Their huge eyes make them look super cool, as if they’re wearing sun glasses:


An interesting fact: The adult cicada is the winged insect we see, and it lives for only a few weeks. But the nymphs, which are the form of the creature that hatch from the eggs, live for around seven years, underground.

A while back, I came across these cicada husks. When the nymph is ready to transform into the winged insect, it climbs up from the underground onto a bush or tree trunk and sheds its skin. These are the resulting empty husks:

Cicada husks


About Sarah Maddox

Technical writer, author and blogger in Sydney

Posted on 2017/01/01, in Not a bird and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Your video of the cicadas brought back memories for me of growing up in Sydney. Those cicadas were deafening! I remember as a kid finding “green grocer” and “black prince” cicadas in the backyard. Here on the Gold Coast where I live now, there are some cicadas around but nowhere near that noisy!

    • Hallo Sue, I’ve only seen a green cicada once, and that was a bit sad because it was actually half a cicada, still buzzing around after an encounter with a bird. 😦 I put it out of its misery. Looking forward to seeing a whole one sometime. They look beautiful in pictures.

  2. Lovely blog Sarah. I think your cicada is a Floury Baker, Aleeta curvicosta. Unlike most cicadas, they typically sit head-down when calling. Well done to capture the video of it.

    • Hallo Carol
      It’s nice to meet you! I’ve just dropped by your blog too – it’s beautiful! Thanks for the information about these cicadas sitting head-down when calling. I had no idea the position could be a differentiating factor for identification. In fact, I’d considered rotating the image to make it fit better in the blog format. Good thing I didn’t. 🙂

      • Hehe, it’s like when people reverse photos of cockatoos feeding – makes them right-footed instead of left-footed! Thanks also for the follow. I look forward to more of your posts.

  1. Pingback: Cicada, what a noise! | Birds in Sydney

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