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Here’s a quick look into the life of a Cicada. It’s actually a video I created that is only about a minute long. Did you know… not only do cicadas make a lot of noise, the bugs are on a mission when they emerge!

No bugs were killed during filming; my turtle ate a bug that fell on the ground and was it already dead. Note: Annual green cicadas are out now, but the orange cicada featured in this video is from the Brood X.

Check out my super short video on the Cicada.

Thank you for watching everybody!
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illustration: cicada

May 30, 2021

Where were you 17 years ago? Well, that is the last time the Brood X bugs were around, making ruckus in the trees. The Cicadas are here! Don’t be afraid. They may look creepy. One may smack you in the head by mistake, when flying clumsily, but they are harmless. They are simply out to look for a mate.

These red-eyed Cicadas are only in certain states on the East coast and the Midwest. So get out there and check them out because you’ll have to wait another 17 years to see them again.

Here’s a drawing I did of one critter, hanging out high in the canopy. Can you hear it buzzing away?

Happy Memorial Weekend all!

superworm

May 7, 2016

superworm_by_al_lau

Nothing big today, just a doodle of a superworm. Before I have been feeding these critters to my aquatic turtles (who absolutely love them), I used to think they had a pair of legs on every body segment like a centipede. But looking closer while drawing them, I see they only have six pairs of legs. They only get to be two inches in length. Superworms are larvae that stay in this form for as long as a year and then eventually turn into a darkling beetle.

illustration: ladybug

September 26, 2013

ladybugs_by_al_lau

Ladybugs, or coccinellidae, are friendly bugs, due to their helpfulness in our gardens and farmlands, however diminutive they are. From the moment they hatch, by the hundreds of eggs, ladybugs get to work and eat the even smaller, yet destructive plant-eating pests known as aphids.

As a defense, the signature bright red coloration of its back deters most predators from eating them. Ladybugs can secrete an oily foul-tasting fluid from their joints, if attacked. If all else fails, they can play dead, retract their head and hide their legs beneath their dome-shaped body much like a tortoise does.

The lifespan of a ladybug is one to two years. During the cold months, ladybugs can overwinter, seeking safety under rocks, old logs and in crevices of houses, at which time they enter a diapause state.

My Ladybug illustrations are part of a set of postcards, available in my store.

postcards_bugs

illustration: dragonfly

September 5, 2013

dragonfly green darner

monarch_butterfly_by_al_lau

This is my little illustration of a Monarch Butterfly.  I, thankfully, had the opportunity to see the orange beauty in person, during a road trip on the coast of California, at the right time of year.

Monarch Butterflies are known for their massive migration between Canada and South America. They can be viewed gathering in clusters in the pine or eucalyptus trees at points such as Pismo Beach or Pacific Grove, CA, both in October.

During the Spring and Summer,  the butterfly’s eggs are laid upon the leaves of milkweed plants.  After four days, caterpillars hatch and feed on the milkweed for two weeks.  Next, the caterpillar spins a web on a leaf for its Chrysalis to hang from.  A metamorphosis into a fragile, yet majestic winged insect occurs at this phase after about two more weeks.

The migration exceeds the lifespan of the Monarch butterflies which is only two months, but the next generation continues the trek south (or north depending on the time of year), hence making for an amazing journey for such a small creature.

illustration: cicada

August 2, 2013

cicata

It is mid-summer and the sounds of cicadas fill our days in suburbia. The presence of cicadas actually soothes me, reminding me of many fun summers.

Here are some facts about cicadas in a nutshell:

Cicada nymphs burrow underground for the majority of their lives. Later in life, they emerge from holes in the dirt, climb up trees and molt their skin to grow into adults with wings.

From their abdomens, the males produce a distinct song in hopes of finding a mate. The males cling from high in the trees, resonating as far as the sound can reach.

Not long after mating, cicadas die, but before that, the females lay their eggs in branches. Eventually, the eggs drop to the ground. Nymphs hatch and dig down into the dirt to live in tunnels. The nymphs eat roots while adults eat sap from trees like Oak, Maple and Willow. Depending on the brood, the lifespan of cicadas is 2 to 17 years.

Did the 17-year Magicicada brood visit you this year?

Found a pretty Spotted Grapevine Beetle, one early morning, this week.  It’s like a shiny Egyptian Scarab… but in orange.

painting: cicada

June 24, 2010

On the same theme as my last post, here is another creepy crawler insect, the cicada. With July approaching, summertime is when we hear the droning of these critters in the trees. That is because cicadas are eagerly seeking for a mate, after having spent 17 years underground. They may be big in size and overwhelming in numbers, but don’t worry. Cicadas are harmless.

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