It’s the winter solstice here so the thing to do in mid-winter is to think about the sounds of summer! There are more than 200 species of cicadas in Australia and at 120 decibels some are loud enough to be painful to the human ear. Many cicadas sing in the heat of the day while others sing only at dusk. A number of their common names were initially given to them by children so cicadas have some of the most colourful common names in the insect world, including Black Prince, Double Drummer, Floury Baker, and the Green Grocer or Yellow Monday.
To spot a cicada you need to spend a bit of time outside in the garden or park and be observant but there is no skill or luck involved in finding the cast off skin from cicada nymphs that have emerged from underground when ready to become fully-winged adult cicadas. In some areas there can be dozens on a single tree. The skin usually splits at the back and the cicada emerges leaving an almost complete cast of their bodies with the legs intact. This means that they will continue to hang on the trunk of the tree in plain sight. It is not uncommon for kids to collect the cast off skins and wear them like a badge.
The image of the Floury Baker Cicada is available to purchase on a range of products on Redbubble.