Thursday, October 24, 2013

The advantages of living at the foot of a forest - Cicada scanned

Living within an ancient forest certainly has its advantages. Five minutes ago I flicked a cicada from my finger back into the nocturnal sodium twilight of the city. After flying around frantically in the room, I was surprised how calmly it sat while I scanned it. There were a few surprises in store for me when I examined the scan, and also when I read about them on Wikipedia.

My first attempt to scan - immediately after catching the cicada.
Please excuse the dust and scratches. Think of the cicada as an astronaut cicada with a giant finger holding it in place in space, and the twinkling dust of the stars in the background. From a quick search it seems like it could be Platypleura capensis.

Here you're starting to see the "pupils" of the eye that follow one around, and two bright dots.

Those three white dots turn out to be Ocelli

A view from the side
Did you notice curious things? What are those mirror-like things between the eyes? They are ocelli, very simple eyes that pretty much detect light vs. dark. It is theorized that it used in navigation and orientation, as the eyes are typically more sensitive than the primary eyes.

I also learned that they don't rub their legs against their bodies creating a rasping sound like many other insects, but they use tymbals, drum like organs with muscles that click each time they move in or out. Read loads more about Cicadas at

1 comment:

  1. You'd probably enjoy my new nebula pictures
    Feel to ask about nebulas. Find your favorite one