If I ask you to think about a cicada, what are the first five words that come to mind? While you ponder your answers, I'll give you mine.

  1. Loud
  2. Annoying
  3. Scary
  4. Weird
  5. Interesting

Most people would probably have similar answers as these, maybe in a different order, but most of us probably have the same thoughts about cicadas. A word that would NOT immediately come to mind is "beautiful."

Cicada exoskeleton
Photo by Yuri Vasconcelos on Unsplash

The first image of a cicada that pops into my head is the empty exoskeleton that is left behind after molting - dozens and hundreds of them stuck to the sides of trees. Kinda creepy, but pretty cool to inspect and maybe collect.

Getty Images

The third word on my list above is inspired by the creature that comes out of the exoskeleton - the big black one that sounds like a winged bringer of death as it flops around on the ground. And yes, I realize that cicadas pose no threat to me whatsoever, but they still freak me out sometimes.

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Are Cicadas Actually Beautiful?

I don't know if I'm ready to make a blanket statement like that just yet, but I am certainly able to admit that the cicada pictured below is, in fact, beautiful.

Facebook/Marie Littler Clore

The photo was taken by a young woman from Hendricks County, Indiana. To be honest, I don't know if I would have known I was looking at a cicada if she hadn't said so. I never knew they could be that colorful. The beautiful turquoise cicada in front of the pink flowers and green foliage in the background makes for an absolutely stunning photograph. And is it just me, or does seeing a picture like this make you want to go buy a really expensive camera and take up photography as a hobby? No? Maybe it's just me.

Facebook/Marie Littler Clore

I am so glad that Marie's daughter (the photographer) got this picture and shared it with the rest of us. I really think it will change my opinion of cicadas. I might just have to revise my list of words. I have no problem at all with adding "beautiful" to my list - having said that, "loud" and "annoying" are still locked in at #1 and #2.

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