Cicadas are large insects belonging to the family cicadidae. They are tear-drop shaped bugs with prominent eyes and well developed, many veined wings. The cicada is an important species in tropical/sub tropical climates due to its ability to act as prey for animals higher up in the food chain than them. In may countries, cicadas are also eaten by humans since they are a good source of protein. Another distinguishing characteristic of the cicada is its unique sound, produced by male bugs. The male cicada’s abdomen is largely hollow and acts as a sound box, producing two clicks for every undulation of the abdomen due to the cicada’s tymbal. This sound is produced by males to attract female cicadas. Despite their large size and imposing demeanor, cicadas do not bite or sting, and are much less assuming than cockroaches. In fact, cicadas feed like aphids, using a long proboscis to feed on plant sap directly from the xylem.
The Bermuda Cicada (Tibicen bermudiana), one of our only endemic insects, was once very common on the island. The cicada was about 1-2 inches long when fully grown, dark in colouration, and sporting impressive wings. Their decline is believed to be associated with the cedar scale epidemic which wiped out a large portion of the island’s cedar trees, and through the trees, the cicada’s means for reproduction and shelter. Cicadas have a long and complex life cycle, one of the longest in the insect world. It involves the laying of eggs in tree bark. After the insect hatches, the nymph drops to the ground and burrows until it finds a nutrient-rich tree root to feed off of. Once they have reached a significant size, which takes a number of years in most species, they tunnel to the top, shed their exoskeleton, and emerge as a mature adult. What few cicadas survived the scale epidemic were likely wiped out by the introduced and invasive kiskadee, brought on to the island to eliminate our lizard population, but which instead took a liking to other food sources. The Bermuda Cicada is now believed to be extinct.