Nature's Place

Cicada Ladies and Nights

She must have just dug herself from the earth and climbed the rough barked cutting I left against the Hibiscus. As I came along she was getting comfortable, locking onto a leaf. Looking closer I could see she was about to emerge from her old shell of an earth dweller, hard, smooth and bristly with big front digging ‘arms’, to become an air dweller.

Then she started pulsing and I knew a birth that I hadn’t seen before was imminent, so I got the camera.

I sometimes go into the garden at night with a small torch, nothing fancy, to see some nocturnal stuff.


The house where I live is probably one of the original Queenslanders in this area, judging by the condition of some of the wood. And the garden has remnants of the coastal wetland forest it once was. I find all kinds of bugs around the house I would normally expect to find in the nearby forest, reminders of another time.

There are many small Cicadas coming out of the garden at night but this was a big one, about three inches long from nose to wing tips, and it’s rare to catch an emergence like this – for me. I was in position for a few shots and I didn’t want to disturb her and once the process began it didn’t last long, about fifteen minutes before her wings were filled and she was changing colour from the creamy white of a new born.

She climbed slowly out of the old form, filling the new as she went.

The will, a singular focus, unhurried intent.

Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge

10 Responses

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  1. earthlycreatures said, on 06/02/2011 at 10:26 pm

    Hi Mark,

    Fantastic images and story. I take it you live in QLD, the way you describe the old queenslander and rainforest. Hope you are okay after the exteremely severe weather up there.


    • Mark said, on 07/02/2011 at 4:13 am

      Hello Lisa. Yes, QLD, and the worst of the wet has passed me by so far. We’re in a good place.

  2. wickeddarkphotography said, on 05/02/2011 at 7:01 am

    Wow. stupendous. What a privilege to witness.

  3. M. S. said, on 05/02/2011 at 5:17 am

    That’s beautiful. I remember living in Louisiana and seeing their shells hanging on trees and listen to them sing but never seen that process before. Thanks for sharing beautiful pictures

    • Mark said, on 05/02/2011 at 4:08 pm

      Hello MS. it only happens at night, that I know of.

  4. Mei said, on 05/02/2011 at 3:42 am

    How’s that gigantic cyclone impacting you, dear Mark? Everything still well on your side of Oz? My best wishes for you!

    • Mark said, on 05/02/2011 at 4:07 pm

      Hello Mei. Spread those wings.

      Water, water everywhere but none on me, yet. ((:

  5. Sheila Creighton said, on 05/02/2011 at 2:04 am

    great images Mark!

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