Cicada time-lapse a hit on social media

On January 16, Parks and Wildlife Commission of the NT (PWCNT) Senior Ranger, Mark Anderson, shared a time-lapse video on Facebook showing a cicada shedding its nymph exoskeleton to become an adult. It depicts a process that lasts over an hour, compressing it into just 30 seconds. The video shows the insect wiggling, cracking the shell down and crawling out of its own skin before spreading transparent wings and taking flight.

Cicadas spend 6-7 years of their lives as underground nymphs, before emerging as adults. They shed their skin at intervals as they grow. When the nymph reaches full size it digs its way to the surface with its front legs, which are specifically adapted for digging. The nymph then climbs on to a tree branch or other object and sheds its skin for the last time. The fully-winged adult cicada leaves its old empty nymphal skin behind.

The video received more than 59 000 views on the PWCNT Facebook page alone and was shared on social media across Australia, a great result for Central Australia.

Go to the Parks and Wildlife Facebook page to view the video.

A screenshot of the time-lapse video showing a cicada
becoming an adult.

Last updated: 27 March 2018