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Cicadas

Biology Of Cicadas

Cicadas are large dark-bodied insects, with a body length of 2 in (5 cm), membranous wings folded tent-like over the back, and large eyes.

Male cicadas have a pair of small drum-like organs (tymbals), located at the base of their abdomen. These structures have an elastic, supporting ring, with a membrane extending across it (the tymbal membrane). The familiar very loud, buzzing noises of cicadas are made by using powerful muscles to move the tymbal membrane rapidly back and forth, as quickly as several hundred times per second. The actual sound is made in a manner similar to that by which a clicking noise is made by moving the center of the lid of a metal can back and forth. The loudness of the cicada song is amplified using resonance chambers, known as opercula. Each species of cicada makes a characteristic sound.

Cicadas are herbivorous insects, feeding on the sap of the roots of various types of perennial plants, most commonly woody species. Cicadas feed by inserting their specialized mouth parts, in the form of a hollow tube, into a plant root, and then sucking the sap.


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