Sunday, April 9, 2017

Cicada shells on the lilac, Iowa City


Last summer, my daughter and I discovered quite a number of these amazing "monsters" hanging underneath the leaves of the lilac bush in our front yard. They turn out to be the discarded exoskeletons of cicada larva: these insects live underground near the roots of trees and bushes, drinking their sap as they grow, before crawling up and shedding their skin to become the source of the extremely loud buzzing noises of late summer.  Why they chose only the lilac and not any of the other trees, not even the bush that shares canopy space with it, I have no idea and gardening sites don't seem to be helping me either.