Cicada Lifecycle Wooden Puzzle with Image Tray
There are over 3,390 species of Cicadas in the world and about 40 species in New Zealand. The Chorus Cicada is the most common. Cicadas lay their eggs on branches and stems and after it hatches it drops to the ground. A Cicada’s first years are spent as a Nymph. With claw-like forelegs they burrow deep into the ground, where they stay for several years, shedding their skin about five times as they grow.
Depending on the species, the Nymph stage of New Zealand Cicadas can last three years and perhaps longer. Tunneling into the ground, the Cicada Nymph feeds on plant roots. To feed, it inserts its needle-like mouthparts into a root (Cicadas do not have chewing mouth parts and cannot bite). The life span of New Zealand Cicadas is not well known, but some species live underground as Nymphs for at least three years and probably up to five. In North America, one species lives for 17 years under ground. As the Cicada Nymph reaches maturity it burrows upwards, until it is near the surface. When the conditions are suitable, it emerges from the ground under the cover of darkness. Having climbed up a support such as a tree trunk, the Nymph then enters its final moult. In its final moult, the Cicada changes from a drab, ground-dwelling Nymph to an often colourful, energetic, winged adult. The exoskeleton is entirely shed, including the linings of the breathing tubes, which can often be seen poking out from the cast skin. The adult gently emerges and hangs to allow its soft and crumpled wings to be pumped up to their full size. By the next morning the wings are hard enough for the adult to fly away, leaving behind the empty case of the Nymph. The adult Cicada only lives for two to four weeks above ground for the sole purpose of breeding.