Every summer I would collect these:
My son collected these on the camping trip.I would fill up grocery bags and grocery bags (back when grocery bags were only paper) of them. At the end of the summer, I'd count them all up (I kept a record of this for several years) to see how many I had and, then, spread them out all over the sidewalk and stomp on them just like bubble wrap. Although I'd mentioned this to my kids before, they didn't really understand since we don't, to my knowledge, have any cicadas around here. At least, if we do, I've never seen (or heard) any sign of them.
However, while we were on our camping trip, I happened to spot a few of the shells, and I showed them to my kids. My younger son became fascinated by them, and he (we) started gathering them up whenever we came across them. I think he brought more than 50 shells home with him.
But that's not the interesting part...
The other thing I used to do when I was a kid was to go out in the evenings and look for them coming out of the ground so that I could watch them shed their skins. It was fascinating. And I told my kids all about all of the collecting the shells and watching them hatch and all of that, and, of course, my younger son desperately wanted to see that happen, too. I didn't make any promises. It was never an easy thing to find them, and I was lucky if I found two to watch hatch in a summer.
But! But it just so happened that on the evening of the day we found the first shells that I found one crawling up to the cabin in the fading light of sundown. He was ecstatic. I went and put it on the outside of the screen on the backdoor of the cabin so that he could watch it from inside. Then, as I was walking back around to the front of the cabin, I almost stepped on a second one! So that one joined the first.
All the kids watched them for a little while, but the youngest and, then, the oldest got bored with how long it was taking and went to bed. But my younger son stayed up and watched the two cicadas shed their skins, grow their wings, and become entirely different creatures. Here are some pictures of the process:
It was really great to be able to bring a bit of my childhood to my kids through this experience, and they all three thought it was pretty neat even if it was only the middle one that had the same kind of interest that I had as a child.
Nature's a pretty interesting place...
Oh wow, that's so cool! The cicadas, you showing your son how much beauty there is in the natural world, the pics! I love insects, wish I could observe more of them closely, like you did.ReplyDelete
I've never seen a live one. We see empty shells all the time here though. Cool your kids got to experience it.ReplyDelete
I collected those as well when I was a kid. I got overwhelmed the summer when they came out in droves (part of that 17 year cycle) and they deafened the night with all that noise they make... that would have been, geez, 1985 maybe. Well, whatever, there were so many shells that year that I couldn't keep up.ReplyDelete
It is great you were able to share a moment like that with your youngest.
Not my thing either, but wonderful to be able to show your kids a fascinating aspect of both your childhood and nature.ReplyDelete
Science in action, kids love it (some more than others). I'm not much for collecting bugs, although my brother and I caught some interesting ones (it was his idea).ReplyDelete
Very good photos - couldn't the kids use this for show and tell of some sort?
Nice posting. I remember putting one of those shells on my sisters pillow when we were kids. She freaked out screaming and crying and I was grounded for a week. :/ReplyDelete
Vero: Yeah, insects are pretty interesting. Of course, not all of them are so good to experience first hand.ReplyDelete
Alex: It was cool. And my son bringing home the shells is probably one of the weirdest souvenirs any kid ever brought home from a vacation.
Rusty: LOL! You're the only other person I've ever known that collected the shells.
Jo: It was!
D.G.: Oh, yeah, they'll probably be able to. They have so much to talk about from this summer!
G_G: I suppose I should have mentioned how we put them on our noses and freaked everyone out.
That's a big bug!ReplyDelete
Michael: They are pretty large.ReplyDelete
There are recipes for eating cicadas. I heard about this AFTER the last cycle. I'm not even going to lie, someday I will be writing about Science in the Kitchen: Cicadas Taste Just Like Chicken (or is it that chicken tastes like cicadas?)ReplyDelete
Callie: We've talked about trying crickets, but we haven't actually done it. There are many insects with high nutritional value that are eaten in other countries, but I haven't been able to overcome my Western revulsion of them. Yet.ReplyDelete
I was in the College of Agriculture at Purdue for two and a half years, and there was always weird stuff going on with the etymology labs. Casual exposure to insect-eating over the years has gotten me to the point where I think I'd try it if the opportunity arose. There's a blogger known as "bug girl" on the Skepchick Network blog who has posted really interesting things about bug recipes that I'd definitely try if someone offered it ^_^ReplyDelete
Callie: Well, I think I'd try something if I could buy it at a restaurant or try something someone else made. I just haven't been able to bring myself to actually try cooking it myself.ReplyDelete
That so cool. Both being able to show your son something you experienced as a kid and the actual shedding process itself. I think there are cicadas around here but I've never actually seen one.ReplyDelete
GE: Can I call you GE? That kind of makes me laugh, so, maybe, I shouldn't.ReplyDelete
Okay, Eagle: You should go look around for some. Check for the shells on trees and stuff, and, if you find shells, look around for them at dusk.
When I was a kid in Maryland we had some sort of x number of years appearance of cicadas. I don't remember really seeing them other than that year. Anyway, they were everywhere, like some biblical swarm, covering trees, bushes, the grass, cars, the window screens. We collected them in buckets to examine them. I remember being so fascinated by their clear wings and their bulbous eyes. I'd love for my kids to get to see cicadas and fireflies.ReplyDelete
Shannon: Either I had annual cicadas where I was in the south or they were all offset enough that I had them every year, but I had them every year.ReplyDelete
I think a 3 or 7 year cycle is pretty typical, but there are annuals, and there are some that have a 17 year cycle.
Nature never ceases to amaze me. Thanks for sharing this story with us. :-)ReplyDelete
Cally: Sure! It's a pretty amazing thing which was great to see again after 30 some years.ReplyDelete
Whoa. AWESOME. That is all.ReplyDelete
Jericha: It is pretty awesome.ReplyDelete
Wow... so cool. I love hearing "heat bugs" in the summertime but have never seen one shed its skin.ReplyDelete
Cathy: You should try to find one and watch it! It's really so cool!ReplyDelete