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Moulting of the Black and Golden Cicada

It has been several weeks, and pictures of beautiful black and gold cicadas (Huechys fusca) emerging from their moult were popping up everywhere. I had to go visit it, but did not want to add on to the crowds as there were reports of overcrowding that flattened the once-rich leaf litter. Together with Chris, we took leave from work and went on a silent hunt on a weekday. Luckily, we were able to witness at least 2 cicadas emerging. An amazing sight to behold!

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    Black and Golden Cicada (Huechys fusca) - DSC_8920
  1. Found the first Black and Golden Cicada! Unfortunately I was a little too late as it had already emerged and almost ready to fly off.

  2. Black and Golden Cicada (Huechys fusca) - DSC_8926
  3. As we didn't see any others, I took more record shots of this lovely cicada

  4. Black and Golden Cicada (Huechys fusca) - DSC_8968
  5. Close up shot of the Black and Golden Cicada (Huechys fusca)

  6. Black and Golden Cicada (Huechys fusca) - DSC_8987
  7. Our patience paid off, and while shooting a two-tailed spider, Chris spotted a cicada larva crawling up the tree trunk!

  8. Black and Golden Cicada (Huechys fusca) Moulting Animation - DSC_9002
  9. What followed was nothing short of a miracle. I took over a hundred shots and compiled it into an animation. Unfortunately it decided to walk out of the frame before the wings were pumped out!

  10. Black and Golden Cicada (Huechys fusca) - DSC_9003
  11. Just for fun, here's the reversed animation!

  12. Black and Golden Cicada (Huechys fusca) - DSC_9020
  13. A captured moment in time

  14. Black and Golden Cicada (Huechys fusca) - DSC_9099
  15. The most important part of the moult before the cicada flips to the front.

  16. Black and Golden Cicada (Huechys fusca) - DSC_9128
  17. After the cicada moved out of frame, I shifted to capture the rest of the sequence where it pumped it's wings out to dry. It took almost 30 minutes, and was finally disrupted by ANOTHER cicada larva!

  18. Black and Golden Cicada (Huechys fusca) - DSC_9130
  19. The wings in the midst of being pumped out

  20. Black and Golden Cicada (Huechys fusca) - DSC_9276
  21. The invader. :P

  22. Black and Golden Cicada (Huechys fusca) - DSC_9308
  23. We found yet another cicada, and was able to shoot at an angle that allowed a nice smooth background of the foliage a distance away

  24. Black and Golden Cicada (Huechys fusca) Moulting Animation - DSC_9320
  25. This is a more complete animation of the moulting sequence!

  26. Black and Golden Cicada (Huechys fusca) Reverse Moulting Animation - DSC_9321
  27. And a reversed animation. :)

  28. Black and Golden Cicada (Huechys fusca) - DSC_9385
  29. Love the colours of the cicada before it turned black

  30. Black and Golden Cicada (Huechys fusca) - DSC_9423
  31. Wings all pumped out!

  32. Black and Golden Cicada (Huechys fusca) - DSC_9438
  33. A true beauty, this particular scene and colour will last for less than 10 minutes before it changes into a black cicada.

I was indeed lucky to be able to witness the entire moulting sequence in private. Because of the popularity of these cicadas, many brought their friends and came in large groups. I feared that the hype would cause the rich leaf litter to be flattened and this may be the last time we would see these cicadas. Some regulars in that area had already commented that the leaf litter used to be much thicker, and it was a really sad sight. If you wondered why I'm posting this only after almost a year, this is the reason.

The complete album can be viewed here.

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