Tuesday, August 10, 2010

sucking mouth parts

© photo credit: factodiem.com

While doing research on cicadas this morning, I came across the phrase, "sucking mouth parts."  As in, "In Ohio, there are two common types of cicadas, the annual and the periodical cicada.  Both have sucking mouth parts."

It kinda made my day.

You may be interested in knowing why I was researching these insects in the first place.  It's simple, really: they are noisy.  I was convinced their signature chatter was the sound of birds or electricity running through telephone cables, but was later informed they are indeed cicadas.  We don't have these bugs in my hometown, so I needed to investigate.

Cicadas aren't very pretty to look at, but they are certainly memorable.  Several Ohioans have told me that the sound of the cicada is nostalgic, reminding them of childhood summers.  I would say the same thing about music from our neighborhood ice cream truck.  Our friends also tell us that there is such thing as a 17-year cicada.  Trust me, it sounds like something out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie.  Then again, Ancient Greeks made a habit of keeping cicadas in cages for the pleasure of hearing them sing.

Hmmm.  Not in my house.

According to another cicada facts website, probably the best known and most mysterious cicada is the Black Prince followed closely by the Green Grocer.  Other popular names include the Double Drummer, Redeye, Floury Baker, Cherrynose, Hairy Cicada, Bladder Cicada and Yellow Monday.

If you were a cicada, which kind would you be?  I would be a Cherrynose because it sounds so cute, or the Floury Baker because everyone likes being friends with a baker.  Let's face it, Hairy and Bladder probably get teased on the playground.

My favorite thing I read about cicadas today was this quote by author John Berger:

"Do you know the legend about the cicadas?  They say they are the souls of poets who cannot keep quiet because, when they were alive, they never wrote the poems they wanted to."

You're welcome.


  1. That was one of the things I HATED the most about living in Ohio...the bugs! Cicadas are deafening, and frankly just a little bit creepy. Have you met the Ohio lady bugs? They bite(just a little), and they give off a nasty smell. Oh, and they come in groups of like 250,000. My personal favorite Ohio bug experience was while gardening once something came out of the ground and bit me on the backside. I had a sore there for 3 months! That ended my weeding.
    I'm glad it sounds like you are enjoying your surroundings there in Ohio!
    I love you my friend!

  2. I'd be the floury baker. I've been up close w cicadas and I can't imagine what feature would have it called floury baker--a white fluffy head? haha. Maybe it sounds like the pillsbury doughboy. Are Bladder, Yellow, and Redeye a sibling group? :p

    Those are some ugly critters! You can keep 'em!

  3. :/

    I would be a Bladder Cicada. Especially after my morning coffee.

    But, I have to be honest with you, I LOVE the sounds of the cicadas. It isn't nostalgic or reminiscent for me... it's just natural, peaceful- white noise to help you sleep at night. Ugh, and hopefully drown out the occasional deafening trains.


  4. (The crickets take the cake, though) ;)

  5. Very entertaining anecdotes, thanks friends! The rest of the year is so quiet without the summertime soundtrack. I'm looking forward to the crickets and frogs again, but man.. all of these bugs give me the willies! I've already seen glassy-colored spiders in our house. Yuck!