During this trip away from home, we’ve enjoyed a lot of wildlife that we’ve never seen before — from great, big animals to tiny insects. And the girls have loved being close to nature — especially Brioni, who amassed a tidy collection of cicada shells from the last couple of campsites. So we’ve been learning lots about cicadas!

Cicada nymph, November 2010
This is the first cicada nymph I have ever seen. A fellow camper found it crawling up his leg in the dark (talk about creepy!). The nymphs live underground and only emerge when they are ready to molt.

Collecting cicada shells, November 2010
At the right time of year, it's very easy to find cicada shells. They're often around the bases of trees because the eggs are laid under treebark, and then the nymphs burrow into the ground close to where they emerge from their eggs.

Cicada shells, November 2010
When her collection was finally complete, Brioni had found about three times this number of cicada shells.

Cicada, November 2010
We also found a couple of cicadas in a catatonic state, waiting for their wings to harden before they flew away.

Cicada, November 2010
When you examine them closely, cicadas are very beautiful. We appreciated this opportunity to see all the details in this noisy insect!

Wikipedia says

Around 220 cicada species have been identified in Australia, many of which go by fanciful common names such as: cherry nose, brown baker, red eye, green grocer/green Monday, yellow Monday, whisky drinker, Double drummer, and black prince. The Australian green grocer, Cyclochila australasiae, is among the loudest insects in the world.

If you’re interested, you should also visit the Wikipedia link to see a time-lapse sequence of a cicada emerging from its skin. Fascinating!