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Photo#284343
Mystery molting - Platypedia

Mystery molting - Platypedia
Loomis, Placer County, California, USA
June 2, 2009
I found this molt clinging to my fence, and at first assumed it was a cicada or something. On closer inspection, I'm really not sure what to make of it. It has two pairs of walking legs, but the anterior set seems to be specialized for something else. What, I'm not sure. I'd really love to know what this beastie is! Cicada? Carpenter bee? Something else entirely?

Images of this individual: tag all
Mystery molting - Platypedia Mystery molting - Platypedia Mystery molting - Platypedia Mystery molting - Platypedia Mystery molting - Platypedia

Moved
Moved from Platypedia.

Moved
Moved from Cicadas.

Definitely a cicada...
See this nice image which is already in the guide:



As to what purpose the modified front legs serve, I'm afraid I don't know the answer to that off-hand... Perhaps someone more knowledgeable will still be able to answer that question!

 
Digging!
Cicada nymphs live underground feeding on sap from tree roots. They need those strong front legs to move through the soil, and to get out of the ground and climb something when it comes time to molt to adulthood.

 
Aha!
Perfect explanation. Thanks for the assist, Eric! That information should really be on the family guide page... will try to rectify that soon.

 
Thank you!
Thank you so much for the speedy ID! I'm a little disappointed I didn't get to see the cicada that left the molt--I've yet to see one in the wild. I am really happy to get the ID and explaination, though! Thank you!

 
Don't worry...
...the time of the cicadas is just beginning. Around my place, they are pretty active for the next several months, so pay attention to their calls (there are many resources online if you're not sure what they sound like) and you may be able to track one down that way. You're lucky that they seem to be just outside your front door as that will give you ample opportunities to look for them.

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