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Insects and other arthropods

Dog-day cicada

Neotibicen canicularis

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Dog-day cicadas are large insects with highly characteristic shapes and bodies that are twice as long as they are wide. They are 27 to 33 mm long, with wingspans of up to 82 mm. Their bodies are mostly dark with green and black markings on the upper side of the thorax. The veins at the base of the long transparent wings are also green. Significant colour variations may be related to the geographic origin of different populations. The green form described above is the most abundant.

Life cycle

Cicadas are hemimetabolic insects, meaning that they undergo incomplete metamorphosis.

The male sings to attract a partner. After mating, the female lays her eggs under the bark on a tree branch. Once they hatch, the nymphs drop to the ground. They use their forelegs to burrow underground and reach the tree’s roots, so they can feed on the sap. The immature cicadas moult several times and overwinter underground. Before undergoing their final metamorphosis, the nymphs emerge from the soil and climb the tree trunk. They hang on with their claws, and shed their old “skin,” or exoskeleton (exuviae), and emerge as winged adults. This occurs in mid-summer.

The complete life cycle is three years.

Geographic distribution

They are found in the northern United States and southern Canada. Although they inhabit a wide territory, their population density varies tremendously, so that these insects are very common in other areas and quite scarce in others.


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