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Cockroach Eating a Cicada


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I was out looking for cicadas because I've never seen one and as I went around one tree I saw a cockroach eating one. I don't know if the roach came across a dead one, or if it was just taking advantage of one molting, or was eating something leftover from a molt. Either way, I thought it was very neat and thought you guys would enjoy the pics.

Roach-Cicada.jpg

Roach-Cicada2.jpg

Roach-Cicada3.jpg

Roach-Cicada5.jpg

I did get to see my cicada though. Albeit molting. :lol:

CicadaMolt2.jpg

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I would guess that the cicade was just a left over.

The wings were not fully developed and in that stage these animals live underground. They climb onto the trunk of a tree to shed their last skin and recieve fully developed wings. So a cicade above ground, without wings is only there for a very brief period in time.

Since the skin is cracked open, just as a cicade which has molted (beautifully illustrated in the last picture) it's very likely that just the remaining exoskeleton makes dinner for the roach. On the other hand, it also looks like there is still some material inside the cicade so maybe the roach was enjoying full dinner. :lol:

On holidays in the south of France I've seen plenty of those abandoned skins, but none with a cicade still inside, and certainly not one with a cockroach nibbling on it. Lucky devil ;)

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The cockroach is a male Parcoblatta pennsylvanica. It seems strange, notice how the wings are bent at the ends? My male has the same thing, and he can't fly. I wonder if it's a mutation, or just a common molting disorder.

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Silly me, I didn't inspect closer, but the cicade looks awfully dark like there is somthing still in there. All the empty shells on the trees are a lighter tan.

Lucky me, I had an adult cicade fly through my window and hit me while I was driving today. Sounded like a party clacker. They are so neat! I'm glad they only come out every few years. They sound so beautiful, but I'm sure would be annoying year after year after year.

I'll look around tonight and see if I can find more adult roaches, to see about the bent wings.

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Are all those cicada photos of the same cicada, or was the final "morning" one a different one?

Regardless, the darkness of the one that's getting harrassed definitely suggests there was some feeding going on there (or maybe the roach was just harvesting some liquids). I've come across quite a few pupal shells from cicadas. They hang from the trees for weeks or more, sometimes. They are always very light in color and a flashlight would definitely highlight their emptiness, if anything. I'm 99% sure that cicada had not yet hatch. Did you happen to visit that same cicada the next morning? Was there just a shell left or was the final photo in the thread the same one?

REALLY interesting and unsual circumstances...thanks for sharing the photo with us!

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That is not an empty molt. We have cicada maturing every year here and we can always count on seeing a lot of the skins. That one still has the cicada in it. It looks like the roach found it just as the skin split. If you look at the last pic of a cicada molting normally you can see where the eyes used to be is a clear, tan color. That will be the color of the whole empty skin. In the first pic the eyes are still dark. Severus the sound is extremely annoying after the first couple of days. They make a loud noise that builds to a crescendo that you just can't get away from.

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The last picture was of a different cicada than the one being eaten though on the same tree.

I looked around tonight and noticed that every adult male roach I found had bent wings. I found about twelve adult males, a bunch of nymphs, and a few females. Very interesting. This time last year, I had no idea we had cockroaches in our front yard.

My brother in law, father and I went to the shooting range the other day, and BOY! We needed our hearing protection just from the cicadas! I got some pretty neat photos and a good video displaying the sound that I will try to post. They are so pretty. I am very glad they do not come out every year for us, though.

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You certainly offer a nice documentation of Parcoblatta feeding on a living, molting cicada. Of course we'll never know if the cockroach killed the cicada as it emerged or if it was just taking advantage of a cicada that got stuck in it's final molt.

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You certainly offer a nice documentation of Parcoblatta feeding on a living, molting cicada. Of course we'll never know if the cockroach killed the cicada as it emerged or if it was just taking advantage of a cicada that got stuck in it's final molt.

Just to make an assumption, but I've used live, "moist" foods for my lobster cockroaches, and they attack voraciously. But, if I place a non-injured, hard shelled invertebrate in their enclosure, they may nibble or flick their antennae, but otherwise ignore. I believe the male was taking advantage of the cracked exoskeleton and began eating the cicada immediately after it had cracked and was preparing for a successful molt.

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