Love Of Nature, Photography, Gardening And Country Valley Living

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Strange But Interesting Cicada and Fungi



Magicicada septendecim

I find these bugs fascinating . When we were little we called them hydro bugs as they make the sound like all the hydro wirers that used to buzz with electricity  along the roads  back in the day in the country side  when I was on our farm .

Cicadas are  best known for their buzzing and clicking noises, which can be amplified by multitudes of insects into an overpowering hum. Males produce this species-specific noise with vibrating membranes on their abdomens. The sounds vary widely and some species are more musical than others. Though cicada noises may sound alike to humans, the insects use different calls to express alarm or attract mates.

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I know some of you may be creeped out by this bug sorry  but I find all bugs fascinating especially these guys .

Cicadas are also famous for their penchant for disappearing entirely for many years, only to reappear in force at a regular interval. There are some 3,000 cicada species, but only some share this behavior (the 17-year cicada is an example). Others are called annuals because, although individuals have multi-year lifecycles, some adults appear every year. The dog day cicada, for example, emerges each year in mid-summer.

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When young cicada nymphs hatch from their eggs, they dig themselves into the ground to suck the liquids of plant roots. They spend several early life stages in these underground burrows before surfacing as adults. The process varies in length but often takes a number of years.

Periodical cicadas do not create destructive plagues, as some locusts do, though tens or hundreds of thousands of insects may crowd into a single acre. Large swarms can overwhelm and damage young trees by feeding and laying eggs, but older trees usually escape without serious damage.

Cicadas are members of the order Homoptera and are physically distinguished by their stout bodies, broad heads, clear-membrane wings, and large compound eyes.

The insect's amazing lifestyle has been a source of fascination since ancient times. Several cultures, such as the ancient Chinese, regarded these insects as powerful symbols of rebirth.

Between the Cicadas , Grasshoppers and Crickets there is a symphony of bugs all singing together every where .

The yard has been quiet with all the birds and critters taking cover from the heat in the trees and our cedar hedges trying to stay cool with the odd visit to their water holes  then back to their shaded cover .

It has been brutally humid here , 100% humidity and it is not nice  I walk out the door and SLAM! it hits me like a ton of bricks . Miggs and I have been taking short walks early in the mornings when it is a bit cooler then I fill up all the birds water features with fresh cold water after I clean them out for the day , then spending the day in the cool of the house .

                        With the amount of humidity we are having  these fungi are popping up every where .


A fungus is a special type of microbe – it doesn’t make its own food from the sun like plants, instead it gets its food from dead and decaying plants and animals.  You find fungi in damp, warm places but also in the air, soil, water, on plants and in you!  Most fungi aren’t dangerous; in fact most people eat fungi like mushrooms and yeast every day.

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Fungi grow everywhere!  They cannot make food by themselves so they have to  get their nutrients from a host.  They grow on lots of different hosts, anywhere that is warm and damp.  Fungi can’t move around so they make spores that are like seeds.  Spores fly away on the breeze or in water, on animals or clothing and find a new place to grow that has everything they need.  If they can’t find one, they just hibernate - they sleep until the right place comes along!

There are lots of good fungi but they can look very like bad fungi so you must be careful!  Fungi can be good to eat, like some mushrooms or foods made from yeast, like bread or soy sauce.  Molds from fungi are used to make cheeses like Cashel blue or Roquefort!  Scientists use fungi to make antibiotics, which doctors sometimes use to treat bacterial infections.  Fungi also help to decompose lots of different organic material, from leaves to insects!

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Bad fungi are really bad!  Some mushrooms can make you sick, even though they look safe to eat.  There are fungi that love to make horrible itchy, scaly patches on your skin.  Other fungi love the warm, damp skin between your toes and make your skin crack and bleed!  If fungi get inside your body, they can cause serious problems.  Fungi love animals and plants too - lots of crops are damaged every year because fungi have attacked them!

The ugly fungi aren’t all poisonous or dangerous!  One of the nicest tasting fungi is the truffle which won’t ever win any beauty contests!  Some really ugly fungi that you wouldn’t ever think of eating are the slime molds.  These are yellow and shiny and look quite horrible !  The fungi that wins the contest from being the ugliest though, is mildew.  Mildew grows anywhere there is damp and destroys everything from paint to crops.

                                 Just a bit of info for those of us that find these two parts of nature fascinating .

        There is a risk of strong thunderstorms in the making for us later today and still a heat warning is in place  . Hope the storms  bring a cool front with it .

                                                                  Until next time . Stay cool and have a good weekend !

                                                                            Country Gal


William Kendall said...

And that explains the hum.

The heat and humidity is out in force here.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Cicadas are quite interesting and though scary looking are harmless to us humans. Thanks for all the background info, Elaine. And fungi or mushrooms as I called them when spotting them on our lawn are great photo subjects :-)

Kelly @ Homespuns 'n Hayfields said...

You provided lots of interesting information. I love the insects too, I love listening to the sounds of summer. Spiders I can do without though!!!! This humidity definitely needs to go away, it's hard to go out and get anything done in the yard. Enjoy your weekend.

The Furry Gnome said...

Great summary about Cicadas and Fungi! I was always fascinated with Cicadas growing up, but they don't seem as common up here. And it's too hot for me!

Gail said...

Fantastic photos...right up my alley. I used to save all the shells from the cicada.

Margaret Adamson said...

A vey infomative post. Thanks. I hope you have a lovely week ahead of you.

Linda aka Crafty Gardener said...

This heat is getting unbearable. No rain at all, parched gardens and dried up grass. Water levels are extremely low here, many wells going dry. Only my tomatoes and beans are getting water every 3 days. It doesn't look like any end is on sight. Have a good weekend.

A Brit in Tennessee said...

I've been hearing the hum of the cicadas for the past few weeks, not the deafening sound of the thirteen year or the seventeen year variety, but the everyday cicada that seem to compete with the tree frogs, in serenading the summer night.
The fungi is some of the neatest creations, I especially love seeing the moss develop on the wood.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, great info and photos. Interesting post. Happy Sunday, enjoy your day and the new week ahead!

Weekend-Windup said...

Good info. thanks for sharing them.