Sunday, June 5, 2011

Separated at Birth--?

Sorry--I just couldn't resist it! The clypeus of the cicada has always looked like the grille of an automobile to me. They always remind me of Edsels. (Click here for some nifty diagrams of cicada anatomy).

As you probably know, cicadas (like zillions of other true bugs, such as leafhoppers and spittlebugs) eat by sucking fluids from plants. When cicadas are young and live underground, they tap into roots; once they've got wings, they drink from stems. If you turn a cicada over, you can easily see the slender strawlike tube they jab into the plants.

The clypeus (which looks like a "nose" to some people, though I think it looks more like an automobile grille) contains the muscles that the cicada needs in order to suck plant juices.

Okay, maybe the Edsel isn't the best example. . . . How about one of these?

The photo of the 1939 Ford truck is from here, the 1938 Buick sedan is from here, and the 1937 Ford coupe is from here.


Irene said...

Hi Julianna!
I've found very interesting the image of the cicada mouth. I have used it for educational purposes here:

I've been searching for free images on this topic but I haven't found any one so clear.

Please, let me know if you prefer that I take it out.


Julianna Schroeder said...

Thank you, Irene, for your kind comments. It was difficult to get a clear photo of the cicada's clypeus (mouth). He kept waving his legs! Most of my pictures were blurry. (Somehow cicadas don't feel comfortable being held in the fingers of a huge bipedal creature.)

You my use my photo, with my best wishes. THANK YOU for asking me, and THANK YOU for crediting me on your website.