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Try to Solve This Mystery:

Why did most dug-up nymphs have red eyes?  

When we find cicada nymphs crawling on the ground at night, they are mostly brown, like this: But most nymphs that we dig out of underground tunnels are pale tan or yellowish, with bright red eyes:

So, what's the story?  Here are two ideas:

1.  The red-eyed nymphs may be a different 
kind of cicada.

We went to the Cicada Central photo
gallery and found pictures of periodical
cicada nymphs with red eyes.  However,
the periodical cicadas seemed much
more orange and were a different shape.
So, we're not convinced this is the answer.
  

2.  The red-eyes may change into brown-
eyes as they grow and mature.
 

This makes sense, because the two types
were about the same size and shape.
Maybe the color change camouflaged the
nymphs, so they were harder to see once
they dug to the surface.  However, we were
unable to test this idea, because our
captured red-eyes all died within a few days.

   

For now, this remains a mystery!

   

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

   

Here are some Web sites that we used to research this question:

   University of Connecticut Cicada Central
   < http://collections2.eeb.uconn.edu/collections/cicadacentral/NA/index.html >

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

   

NEXT:  Why was one dug-up nymph white?
  

Go back to the main Cicada Mysteries page

Go back to "The More the Boys Look, the More They Find"

Go back to "When Did We Find Cicadas?"
  


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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.