On the morning of July 4, 2005, I spotted this little critter walking across the lawn.
It's a cicada nymph! Specifically, it's the nymph of Cicadidae Tibicen canicularis, the dogday harvestfly.
I parked him on the post of the back deck and there he clung. And yes, he's a boy cicada, as we'll soon see.
Soon his back split open...
...and he began to squeeze out.
And we see where the term "bug-eyed" comes from!
Here come the wings.
He leans back. (We need a limbo bar here.)
The wings come out a bit more. Tiny, aren't they? Not for long!
What's holding him in the shell?
With a little cicada sit-up he leans forward...
...and grabs the shell. Notice the wings beginning to unfurl.
He's pumping fluid into those wings to expand them. His abdomen is growing too.
The wings get bigger...
And now they're starting to look like something he can fly with.
He folds them to his side and hangs for a long time by just two legs. Is this necessary to give him room for his abdomen to expand?
And now we see that he's a boy. A female cicada has an ovipositor on her abdomen. An ovipositor is a long, thin, needle-like appendage that she uses to lays eggs in tree bark. This cicada doesn't have one, so he's a male.
The wings are expanded and folded, the abdomen is bigger, and notice that his color is darkening. He'll be harder for a hungry bird to spot up in the treetops.