Hunt

Find

Solve

Do

Link

Home

Cicada Hunt!

Try to Solve This Mystery:

Can cicadas hurt you?

The books and Web sites we looked
at all agreed that cicadas don't bite
or sting.  As the Cicada Mania FAQ
page says, "They do have prickly feet
which can pinch or scratch, but they
won't injure you, maybe just scare
you a little."

Until last summer, that's what we
thought, too.  Then, one day Aaron
had just picked up a cicada nymph
when he felt a sharp pain and started
crying.  It hurt for about two minutes --
and he didn't ask for a bandaid.  We 
noticed part of his finger was red and 
a bit swollen for about an hour after.  

These pictures show two weapons
that the nymph might have used on
poor Aaron:

   

The photo on the left shows the sturdy 
front legs that nymphs use to scratch 
through hard dirt.  The blue arrow on the 
other photo points to the tube-like, piercing
mouth that nymphs use to suck sap from 
tree roots. 

Did the nymph pinch Aaron with its shovel 
legs, or pierce him with its sucker mouth? 
We don't really know.

Since we don't want it to happen again, 
we try to remember to hold cicada nymphs 
like this:

Actually, we almost always forget to hold 
nymphs safely, yet none of us has been 
hurt by a nymph since Aaron's injury.  So, 
to answer the question, cicada nymphs are 
able to hurt you, but they almost never do. 

    

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

Here are three Websites that we used to research this question:

   Dan Century's Cicada Mania FAQ page
   < http://www.dancentury.com/cicada/faq.html >

   University of Michigan's Periodical Cicada
   Home Page

   < http://insects.ummz.lsa.umich.edu/fauna/michigan_cicadas/Periodical/Index.html >

   Ohio State University's Extension Fact Sheet
   on Periodical and "Dog Day" Cicadas

   < http://www.ag.ohio-state.edu/~ohioline/hyg-fact/2000/2137.html >

    

NEXT:  How many kinds of cicadas did we find?

     

Go back to the main Cicada Mysteries page


Hunt

Find

Solve

Do

Link

Home

Copyright 2000-2004  Eric D. Gyllenhaal                     Table of Contents                    Search this Site
Webmaster@SaltTheSandbox.org

Cicada Hunt! is part of the Salt the Sandbox Web. 
For more information visit the Salt the Sandbox home page.

This page was created on August 30, 2000, and it was last updated on April 2, 2004.