Cicada Casing on a Tree / by Todd Henson

A cicada casing, or shell, left of a tree.

Many of us have probably heard the sound of cicadas calling to one another. During some seasons the sound can grow to a constant hum. But have you ever seen the casing left behind when a larval cicada molts out of its shell? That’s what this photograph shows.

A cicada had climbed this tree and latched itself onto the bark. Then it began the fascinating process of molting. Inside it detached from its hard shell. It broke through the back of the shell and began to emerge, very soft and vulnerable. Its wings opened and took form. Eventually it flew off leaving behind the casing, or shell, that we see in the photograph above.

YouTube has a video from BBC Studios of Sir David Attenborough describing the life cycle of the cicada: