Nature at our Doorstep

in homeschool •  11 months ago 

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I have always been intrigued by the cicada. One because of the music they make. The males sing their song as a mating call to the females. Another intriguing factor is that we don’t see them around often. When we see a cicada it’s a special appearance. Lastly how large their bodies are. Every time I see one I wonder what they ate to get their bodies so fat.

We found this guy, along with his exoskeleton, on our porch Monday morning. He was clinging to the wall with no movement at all. I learned growing up that cicadas do not bite or sting so that’s one of the reasons I am not too afraid of them.

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My two year old son thought the exoskeleton was another insect. We explained to him that it was a shedding of the outer layer that covered it’s body. We took advantage of this teachable moment and took the time to learn more about cicadas. Homeschool is never closed here, we love feeding our brains.

A cicada has an unusual life cycle. The female places her eggs in the groove of a tree limb that provides shelter and fluids that the young cicada will feed on once it hatches. Once ready, the young cicada will fall from the tree limb and dig it’s way into the ground to find roots to feed on. They stay underground for 2 to 17 years actively tunneling and feeding.

After that long period they emerge from the ground as nymphs. Nymphs climb the nearest vertical surface and begin to shed their nymph exoskeleton (also called molt). Free of their old skin, their wings will inflate with fluid and their adult skin will harden. Once their new wings and body are ready, they can begin their brief adult life.

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Did you know that the cicada’s exoskeleton is used in herbal Chinese medicine? Herbalists use the cast off, mineralized molt in some of their healing recipes. The molt contains chitin, protein, amino acid, organic acid and more.

From the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is sweet and cold in nature and covers meridians of lung and liver. Main functions are to dispel wind to promote eruption, relieve fever, relieve sore throat, remove nebula, and relieve spasm. Main uses and indications are wind-heat cold, sore throat, celostomia, unerupted measles, itching caused by rubella, red eye and slight corneal opacity, infantile convulsion, and tetanus. It is sometimes used to detoxify the skin as well.

Hmmmm maybe we should have kept this molt and did some experimental recipes. Nah, I will leave it to the professionals and just enjoy observing the science. Look at those beautiful transparent adult wings!

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He didn’t stay around for long. We checked back outside about two hours later and he was gone. The only thing left was the molt it shed. Science and nature are the coolest things to observe. You can learn so much if you just look right outside your doorstep.

There was another visitor on our porch in the corner of the same wall.

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We saw this guy spinning something in it’s web. At first glance it looked to be a black caterpillar. As we got a closer look we saw it was another spider. Do you see the eyes and hairy legs?...

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There is so much going on in the tiny world around us.

~Nature at our Doorstep~

All photos are my own and were taken with our Cannon EOS Rebel T6.

Article sources:
Cicada Mania
Eagle Herbs
Herbalogic

Thank You! I Hope You Enjoyed!

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Facinating shots! Sometimes these little guys look scarier the closer you get! lol I'm sure the kids loved this @crosheille :)

Thank you! Lol yes they do! They look as if they will do some damage haha! Thankfully they normally don’t attack. They really did love this, they were sad when he left.

What a cool post, I hadn't really thought about it but I have heard them often but seldom see them as you say
I do remember in one country I was in I think it was Pakistan, we did have a swarm of them, one time, they were like a cloud in the sky there was so many of the, it was a freaky but such an amazing experience to see

Thanks for being an active member of SteemUSA !tip

Thank you! I love their seldom visits! This was the first time we were able to take pictures and study one up close.

Whoa I can imagine how freaky but amazing that was!

It’s so cool when one can experience something seldom seen I find cicadas quite an amazing thing when you get a chance to look closely at them

I so agree!! They are unique little creatures.

They sure are

It’s so cool when one can experience something seldom seen I find cicadas quite an amazing thing when you get a chance to look closely at them

I am always fascinated by this fella especially when it's lost and ended up in my house.
When I was little I was always afraid of it because when my parents true to shoo it away it will produce this really loud "kehhhhhhhhh" sound; and since little I have nicknamed it as "keh keh" haha. And I'd freak out when I see one at night when it accidentally seeks shelter in my living room.

It's great to know that you teach your kids about these instead of relying on teachers at schools. This create a bond and trust between parent and child with good communication. 👍🏼

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Oh wow! I have never experienced having one of these in our home. I can imagine how freaked out you were back then. Lol that’s so funny you named it that! 😄

Thank you so much. I admit it is so rewarding being my children’s full time teacher. We learn about so much and I am learning new things as I teach them :)

Cicadas are so cool! They have fascinated me ever since I learned how they stay dormant for such long periods (years!) then come out at predictable intervals.

They really are cool! It was really fascinating learning more about them with my children. They have a unique life cycle.

Thanks so much for visiting and for your support :)

Very educating, loved how nature teaches us.

Thank you so much for reading! I love how nature teaches us too :)

I do too!

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Thank you! 😃

No I didn't know they used them in medicine - I love insects that don't sting :)

Haha me too! 😉