Friday, August 14, 2009

The Wonder of Cicadas and Christ

by Donna L. Watkins

While in Costa Rica, I noticed a nymph stage of what I thought to be a cicada in the process of emerging from a nymph stage to adulthood.

© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - Cicada In Process - La Selva, Costa Rica
Cicadas spend most of their lives one to nine feet underground as nymphs. They feed on roots of trees and grass.

Spiritually speaking, do you ever feel like you've spent most of your life in a hole underground? Sometimes life is rather challenging and wounds make us want to bury ourselves away.

After from 2, 13 or 17 years below the ground, in May or early June the mature nymphs bore through to the surface, and climb onto nearby vegetation or any vertical surface.

They then begin the arduous process of molting into winged adults. The outer skin of this cicada is already splitting. When the cicada emerges and climbs away, the exoskeleton can frequently be found still attached to post, twigs or tree trunks. The emergence of the nymphs is generally synchronized with a large mass of them appearing within a few days.

That sounds like the process of accepting Christ and becoming a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). Discipleship is an arduous process, but it certainly pays off with the promises of God. We will become more and more like Him and find ways to deal with life that He's had waiting for us. In the shelter of His wings, we'll find refuge and peace from the storm.

After the adult emerges from its "shell" it will fly off to a tree with the males calling for a female and the females being silent. So that loud sounds of cicadas singing is always a totally male chorus. After mating, females split open the bark of hardwood twigs and insert eggs, using their saw-like ovipositor to split the bark and to insert the eggs into the bark. They will lay up to 500 eggs in about 50 sites. The eggs remain for 6-10 week until they hatch.

After the eggs hatch, tiny ant-like first-stage nymphs drop to the soil to borrow in 6 to 18 inches underground to feed for the next 2 or more years. Periodical cicadas develop for a thirteen to seventeen years cycle.

Somebody has captured the entire process of emergence with excellent photographs of the process: A Cicada Passage From Nymph To Adult.

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