Cicadas are a type of insect, in fact they are among one of the loudest insects in the entire world! Some people see these weird creatures and are afraid. They are big for an insect and creepy looking however they are completely harmless to people. Cicadas do not bit or sting and in some countries they are a tasty snack! To learn more about these interesting insects check out these cicada facts for kids.
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What is a Cicada?
Cicadas are insects. Cicada in Latin means tree cricket. There are over 2,000 types of cicadas. Some cicadas are annuals meaning they come out every year or every couple of years. Annual cicadas are dark with green markings. They come out in July and early August.
Periodical cicada’s come out every 17 years. Periodical Cicadas are also known as 17-year cicadas. Periodical cicadas are dark with red eyes and come out in May or early June. Periodical cicadas will come out in 2013 and again in 2030.
What do Cicadas Look Like?
Cicadas have four wings. Cicadas have a wingspan between 2.5 cm- 15cm wide. When they are not flying cicada’s wings go back along the sides of their bodies. Cicadas are bad flyers and often bump into things.
Cicadas have two large eyes on the sides of their heads. They have three very small eyes called ocelli (an eye having a single lens) that are on the top of their heads. Cicada’s mouth is long and thin like a beak. It works like a straw to suck the sap from plants.
They live on every continent except Antarctica. . Periodical cicadas live in the Eastern US. Cicadas live most of their life underground.
Cicada Facts for Kids
Cicadas may look creepy, but they are harmless to people. They don’t bite or sting.
Did you know that hundreds of thousands to one million cicadas can live on a single acre of land! Sometimes cicadas can damage trees by feeding off of them and laying eggs because there are so many of them.
Cicadas are known for the loud noises they make sort of like crickets. Male cicadas make loud noises with their tymbals. Their tymbals are located on the sides of their stomachs. Males cicadas sounds are different pitches for different reasons. Some sounds are for attracting female mates and others are for keeping predators away.
Female cicadas lay up to 600 eggs in tiny holes in trees and branches. In about six weeks those eggs hatch into cicada nymphs. When the nymphs hatch they fall from the tree and burrow themselves into the ground. While in the ground they attach themselves to tree roots. While attached to the tree roots they eat by sucking the sap from the trees.
The cicadas grow underground. As they get bigger they shed their skin and get new skin. When the cicadas come out of the ground they attach to trees to shed skin and the adult cicada comes out. An adult male cicada is called an imago.
Adult cicadas live above ground for about six weeks. While above-ground cicadas have a lot of work to do. While above-ground male cicadas make noise to attract females. Females lay eggs and the process starts again. In some countries, cicadas are a symbol of rebirth.
A predator is an animals that eats and or kills other animals Cicada predators include rodents, birds, lizards, moles, fish and even people.
Did you know that in some countries people like to eat cicadas too! Some people in countries like China, Congo in Africa, Latin America, Burma, and Malaysia enjoy cicadas as a snack!