Friday, June 18, 2010

Bona Dea insect, plant, Update

Bona Dea was hot and humid as usual today. I went to Old Shorty Trail next to the main parking lot. I saw a mature May Apple. I took some photos of the plants and blooms in early Spring. They are again shown here. They show the white May Apple blooms and then the plants. Today I saw the mature May Apple seed pod that the white blooms turn in to. You can see why they are named apple as the seed pod looks like the green apple fruit. Also, I saw something rather interesting and wanted to share it with you. I saw a Cicada insect exo-skeleton or dry shell. This is shown here as the brown shell is split open as you can see. The mature Cicada emerges or molts from this shell. Another picture shows what the emerged insect looks like. These insects start to make a unified singing sound all around the place when it gets dark this time of year. This is the life cycle explanation of this insect: "After mating, the female cuts slits into the bark of a twig, and into these she deposits her eggs. She may do so repeatedly, until she has laid several hundred eggs. When the eggs hatch, the newborn nymphs drop to the ground, where they burrow. Most cicadas go through a life cycle that lasts from two to five years. Some species have much longer life cycles, such as the North American genus, Magicicada, which has a number of distinct "broods" that go through either a 17-year or, in the South of the USA, a 13-year life cycle. These long life cycles both happen to be prime numbers, perhaps developed as a response to predators such as the cicada killer wasp and praying mantis.[11][12][13] A predator with a shorter life cycle of at least 2 years could not reliably prey upon the cicadas.[14]

Cicadas live underground as nymphs for most of their lives, at depths ranging from about 30 cm (1 ft) down to 2.5 m (about 8½ ft). The nymphs feed on root juice and have strong front legs for digging.

In the final nymphal instar, they construct an exit tunnel to the surface and emerge. They then molt (shed their skins), on a nearby plant for the last time and emerge as adults. The abandoned skins remain, still clinging to the bark of trees." I hope you found this as interesting as I did.

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