Cicadas are insects.

There are more than 200 kinds of Australian cicadas.

Adult cicadas live on trees, but before that they live under the ground.

Adult cicadas have thick bodies covered with a hard skin.

Cicadas suck the juice from plants.

Cicadas are insects so their bodies have three parts, with three pairs of legs on the middle part, and they have wings. Insects look very different when they hatch out of their eggs, and have to change into their adult form.

There are about 2000 different species, or kinds, of cicadas in the world, found everywhere except Antarctica. The wing span of the smallest species is about 2.5 centimetres. The largest species, the Pomponia imperatoria in Malaysia, can have a wing span of up to 15 centimetres. Black Prince, the Green Grocer and the Double Drummer are the common names for three of the 200 Australian species of cicada.

Cicadas are harmless to people.

Cicadas have two pairs of glassy, veined wings. Adult cicadas have compound eyes on the top of the head. Compound eyes are like multiple eyes, and help an insect detect movement in a wide area.

The mouth parts of the cicada are used to pierce the surface of plants to suck out the juices.

Life Cycle
After mating, the female makes a slit in the branch of a tree and lays her eggs in it. She does both of these things with a strong, sharp egg-laying spike called the ovipositor.

In about 6 weeks, the eggs hatch and tiny nymphs drop to the ground and burrow into the soil.

The nymphs feed by sucking the sap from the roots of the tree with their feeding tubes. Cicada nymphs can live for up to seven years underground, moulting (shedding their skin)as they grow because their skin does not stretch.

When the nymphs are fully grown, they burrow out of the soil and climb up a tree. They moult for the last time, and emerge as adult cicadas with wings.

Adult males attract a female to mate by making a very loud singing noise using a part of the body called the tymbal.

Adult cicadas live for only a few weeks. Birds eat cicadas and wasps lay their eggs in them.

Find out more about cicadas

Amazing Cicada Life Cycle
More science lessons on Metamorphosis at  

Click here for a site about all the different species of cicada

Click here to find out about Australian cicadas, including pictures of nymphs

If you use any of this information in your own work acknowledge this source in your bibliography like this:
Cicada (2000). [Online], Available:

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updated July 2006