Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Bug identification


Bug shell 1
Bug shell 1  

Bug shell 2
Bug shell 2  
Saw these bugs in my back yard, what are they? Are they dangerous? This is in Long island, New York. Saw it today 8/4/2013 10am. It did not seem alive, but a shell with a hole in the back, as if something exited the shell.


The images depict the exuviae (shed exoskeletons) of cicadas.  "Annual" cicadas have individuals that appear as adults every year, but the individual insect takes 3-5 years or more to mature.  The nymphs spend that time underground feeding on the sap of plant roots.  When they finally emerge, they dig their way to the surface, climb up the nearest vertical object, and split the exoskeleton down the back.  An adult, winged insect wriggles its way out.

Cicadas are not the least bit dangerous at any stage in their life cycle.


Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Eric R. Eaton


I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.


Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

Awards and Honors
One of the top 50 experts in all categories for AllExperts.com, 2009.

Past/Present Clients
Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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