This past Friday, Fiazko and I went hiking (strolling would probably be a more accurate description, actually) in Glen Helen, a nature preserve in Yellow Springs Ohio. It's a great place, and when I lived in Yellow Springs I couldn't spend enough time there (the events detailed in my thread about watching a snake eat a frog took place in the glen)
This time we watched a pair of centipedes copulating, which was interesting, but the highlight of the hike was watching a cicada emerge from its carapace. In NE Kansas, in August, nearly every tree and fence post is dotted with empty cicada carapaces, but I've never seen one being vacated. I think that I was 8 or so the first time I thought about what it must look like, and ever since then I've been hoping to see it happen. Kind of a strange life goal, I admit, but nonetheless I've always thought of it as one.
It's not the kind of thing that translates well into a prose account, but happily I had my camera along, and happier still Fiazko is a damned good photographer. I think I took a few pictures of the thing, but they mostly came out as indistinct blobs. In any case, I was too occupied with watching the process, which took probably an hour, to spend much time fiddling with the camera. If Fiazko hadn't been along, there would be no pictures of it.
By rights this series should be on her Flickr site, but because the pictures were on my camera, and because I wanted to share them, I uploaded them to mine.
The cool thing about watching cicadas emerge, is right after they come out of the shell (about your last photo there) -- you can actually see their wings grow. Their wings just start stretching and stretching until they are about twice the size they were when they first emerged.
I just added some text on the first picture that includes the stuby pre-expansion wings that talks about this.
Fiazko, you felt like it happened instantaneously? I felt like it was a slow process--slow enough that I couldn't see it happening, but had to look away and look back again to perceive the progress of the unfurling. I agree, Farmgirl, the wings were probably the coolest part of the whole thing. I couldn't believe how much like fins they looked at first, and the accordion-like way that they expanded was just incredibly interesting. I'd love to capture that on video at some point.
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Well, I missed a lot since I was focusing on taking pictures, so it seemed like it happened pretty quickly. I can see why you thought it was a slow process, though.
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