Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Honey-Glazed Cicadas

Hah! Now I’ve got your attention! I bet you were thinking this was going to be a recipe!

Nope—this one fits into the category of “natural history notes.” (Aren’t you relieved?)

I took this picture about a week ago; I was in Columbia for an appointment, then picked up lunch and met Sue at Stephens. We had our sandwiches sitting on the wall next to the lovely Eero Saarinen–designed Firestone-Baars Chapel, in the shade of some pines.

Oh! Did I mention that we got me a new camera? Well, it’s used. Off of eBay. It’s another Nikon Coolpix 4500, just like the old one. A dinosaur compared to newer models, but let me assure you, being able to swivel the camera body makes up for its age. (Especially when one is attempting to photograph a spider hanging hip-high in her web—from below.)

Luckily I had the camera with me that day, because this was a remarkable sight. There were several cicada molts attached to the trees. (I guess a plenitude of cicada nymphs in an area is one measure of how undisturbed and healthy a plot of land is.)

And these pine trees were weeping sap, as they do, from places where they’d been trimmed.

So this isn’t really honey—it’s pine sap.

But it looks like honey, and it’s just as sticky!

Fortunately, the adult cicadas got clear of the sap before it oozed upon their spent exoskeletons. I mean, there are enough dangers out there for the adult cicadas; they don't need any pine sap to be threatening them, too.

Ah, but that’s for another post . . . stay tuned.

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