Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Creepy Crawly! -- Annual Cicada

A recent discovery in God's creation:

A cicada. The children were pleased with this backyard find, and they promptly brought it into the house to share with me. I was a bit concerned it would fly away and we'd have a time catching it again, so I asked them to take it back outside. I allowed Bethany to take the camera out and get a picture of it. It flew away after she took this one. I thought it looked different from most of the cicadas I've seen around here. I'm used to them having more of a greenish hue and I didn't recall the white markings, but I'm not the most observant person so I thought I just might not remember. I searched online and at first didn't have much success, but finally found some very helpful sites. I must remember in the future that if I'm trying to identify something it might be helpful to use the word "identification" in my search. ;)

Apparently this is an annual cicada of the species Tibicen dorsata. There are some other photos of this species at this link (scroll down -- there are other species on this page also). This was a very helpful site! I searched for the genus name "Tibicen" to find it, and to find out the genus name I searched at this cicada database.

Here's a link with some information about periodical cicadas in Missouri. I'm putting it here for our own future reference.

You might think I'd search with the children for this information. Ideally I like to, especially with my oldest (9 years old) as I want her to learn more about researching on her own. However, thus far I've found that if I look it up with them, they start to tire of waiting by the time I find something really useful if it takes long at all, and depending on what it is there are occasionally things I come across which I'd rather them not see (that is something that is very frustrating to me). So I often end up searching myself and then share with them what I've found. With time and experience I hope I'll find more sites I can trust and research may be easier. It's amazing how much things have changed since I was my daughter's age. I'd rarely touched a computer when I was 9! Back then we went to the library and used the old-fashioned card catalog! I think they are still getting a good idea of how things work from what they have watched me do, though, and they will often ask me or their daddy if we can look something up that they want to know more about. I'm so thankful to have access to this incredible resource, but at the same time it must be used carefully. Does anyone have any tips gleaned from experience researching with children on the Internet?


  1. interesting! We're studying insects right now (close to your creepy crawly! ha!) so will have to keep an eye out. I don't search with the children much, either--I'm more likely to find it on my own, then gather them around the computer. We really need to get some sort of a filter. . .just hasn't been a high priority, I'm afraid!