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Cicada Hunt!

Try to Solve This Mystery:

How many kinds of cicadas did we find?

We wondered if the patterns on the upper
body (head and thorax) might help us 
recognize different kinds of cicadas.  When 
we looked at our collection of cicada photos,
we found two different patterns.  

Look at these pictures.  Can you find one 
cicada that has a different pattern than the
other five?

        

           
It's like playing a "find the one that doesn't
fit" picture game, but harder.  That's because,
with living things, no two are ever exactly the
same.  So the question is, how different does
it have to be to call it a different kind of cicada? 

We think the middle one in the top row looks
pretty different from the others.  (It's the only
one that doesn't have a "W" shape in the
middle of it's thorax.)  

   "No-W" type cicada

Does that mean that we found two different
kinds of adults?  Maybe -- but what if males
and females of the same type of cicada have
different color patterns?  Here's one way to 
test that idea.  Check out this photo of mating
cicadas (one male and one female):



Based on this evidence, our best guess is
that we really did find two kinds of adults.

What do you think? 
E-mail us at Cicadas@SaltTheSandbox.org 

  

NEXT:  Why did most dug-up nymphs have red eyes?

Go back to the main Cicada Mysteries page


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Copyright 2000 Eric D. Gyllenhaal                      Table of Contents                    Search this Site
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This page was created on August 30, 2000, and it was last updated on July 27, 2002.