[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Sunny
Sunny
52°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
February 21
1923 - Newhall Chamber of Commerce organized; Albert Swall elected president [story]
' style=


Let's Go Outside | Commentary by Evelyne Vandersande
| Thursday, Jun 12, 2014

evelynevandersande_mugWith these first warm days of early summer, cicadas have started their loud song, and suddenly people wonder where this noise is coming from.

California has about 65 species of cicadas. They are not locusts; they are more closely related to leafhoppers and spittlebugs, and we have them every year. They emerge from their nymph stage underground when the weather gets warm, and the song starts loud, very loud, to attract a mate.

There are cicadas all over the world, and I was intrigued to find the different legends and superstitions this little insect has fostered in many countries.

In America, if you hear the mariachi song, “La Cigarra” (which translates to “The Cicada”), it tells you about the romantic life of a creature singing until the day of its death.

In France, the word cigalle brings a smile to every face; it is good luck if one comes in your house, and it brings visions of warm summer months and leisurely outdoor evenings. The cicada is the symbol of friendly insouciance since Aesop’s fable, and Jean de la Fontaine tells the story again in “The Cicada and the Ant.” The cicada spends the whole summer singing, while the ant works the entire time collecting food for the cold weather. When winter arrives, the cicada has nothing to eat…

cicada8In China, the multiple sheddings of the cicada captured their imagination, and the phrase “to shed off the golden cicada skin” indicates a technique to escape danger, using decoys to fool your enemy. It can also imply going through different stages of life and changes until you become the perfect person you are meant to be.

In Japan, the cicada is really the symbol of the summer, and many songs and haiku poems have been written about this little insect. It is also a symbol of reincarnation or evanescence because the cicada comes from the ground, sings the whole summer to attract a mate, and goes under the ground again.

In Java, the farmers rely on the timing of the cicadas. When the song of the cicadas is heard, they start planting their dry crops because they know for sure the dry season has started and they cannot rely on rain – so no more rice planting at that time.

In Greece, the music symbol is a cicada sitting on a harp, and in the Greek myth, Tithonus was turned into a cicada by Zeus. He was granted immortality that way.

cicada6As you can see, cicadas are loved all over the world – in more ways than one, because they are also a delicacy in many countries. They are eaten in China, Burma, Latin America and the Congo; the females are the first choice, as they are a little bit meatier.

In 2011, Sparky’s in Columbia, Mo., made a whole batch of ice cream with cicadas in it – but only one batch, because the public health department was not amused.

The name “cicada” means tree cricket. There is not a real English name for it; it is derived from Latin.

Cicadas are noisy, and if you try to sleep on a warm summer night, they can be annoying.

How do they make that that noise? They do not rub body parts against each other like crickets do. They have tymbals on the sides of the abdomen. They contract the tymbal muscles, and that makes a clicking sound. When they relax the muscle, another clicking sound is produced. Because the abdomen is hollow, it amplifies the sound. Also, they have chambers derived from the trachea that amplify the sound. The whole body seems to be designed to make the loudest sound possible.

cicada5Cicadas “sing” the loudest during the hottest part of the day, and only males make those sounds, because it is done to attract a female. Both sexes have tympana, which are like our ears, but only the males can block them while they are doing their singing.

You have to admit that nature is pretty well organized.

The female, of course, has to listen to the male call. She will need to respond in order to be fertilized and cannot block her ears.

The song of the cicada is among the loudest of all insect-produced sounds, and different species have different mating songs. They also have a broken and erratic distress call, which is used if the insect is attacked. Some species have a softer and gentler courtship song when the female has approached the male.

After mating, the female deposits several hundred eggs under the bark of a little branch. When the eggs hatch, the nymphs drop to the ground and burrow into the soil to feed on roots. An individual might remain underground for two or three years, but we have cicadas emerging every year. The nymphs crawl to the surface in the late spring and transform into adults after a molting period.

Summertime is here: hot weather during the day and warm evenings and nights. The song of the cicadas will be with you during all these months until the weather cools off in October. Enjoy this sign of summertime – and do your best to consider this a musical accompaniment as you try to get some sleep.

 

Evelyne Vandersande has been a docent at the Placerita Canyon Nature Center for 28 years. She lives in Newhall.

 

cicada3cicada2cicada1cicada7cicada4

 

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

7 Comments

  1. Melissa says:

    Great info, thanks.

  2. Megan Happ Megan Happ says:

    Jeffrey totally didn’t know we had these here and thought that weird sound was something else.

  3. First warm days?
    We have no Spring, warm/blistering starts in March.

  4. First warm days?
    We have no Spring, warm/blistering starts in March.

  5. First warm days?
    We have no Spring, warm/blistering starts in March.

  6. Debbie Ortiz Debbie Ortiz says:

    I know what they r but didnt know we had them. Interesting.

  7. Debbie Ortiz Debbie Ortiz says:

    I know what they r but didnt know we had them. Interesting.

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
RECENT COMMENTARY
Thursday, Feb 15, 2018
There was broad public support for the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, which struck a careful balance between lands available for large-scale renewable energy development and the environment. Now the federal government is rethinking it - putting the important and much-needed protections at risk.
Tuesday, Feb 13, 2018
You can prevent vision loss by finding and treating problems early. Medicare covers a glaucoma test once every 12 months for people at high risk for glaucoma
Wednesday, Feb 7, 2018
Sierra Club Angeles Chapter SCV Group Chair Sandra Cattell urges Santa Clarita Valley residents to contact their congressional representatives to push legislation to kill the Cemex mining project in Soledad Canyon.
Friday, Feb 2, 2018
Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Striplin highlights the city's customer service efforts in his message for February 2018.
Friday, Feb 2, 2018
If the Department of the Interior is successful in destroying this national monument, the next one slated for destruction is Grand Staircase-Escalante, then Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument along the California-Oregon border.
Friday, Feb 2, 2018
Here’s what is happening on February 24: a rally to organize students in the Los Angeles Unified School District "against" the highly effective Los Angeles School Police Department.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1923 - Newhall Chamber of Commerce organized; Albert Swall elected president [story]
' style=
Earlier today, Arroyo Seco Junior High School parents were alerted of a "concerning statement" made by a student. Law enforcement officials later determined the statement did not pose a credible threat.
Officials: Arroyo Seco Threat Not ‘Credible’
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital will host the Santa Clarita Valley Concussion Seminar on Saturday, Feb. 24th from 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at the Henry Mayo Center located at 23803 McBean Parkway in Valencia.
Feb. 24: Concussion Seminar at Henry Mayo
The High Plains Library District Board has appointed Dr. Matthew Hortt as the new Executive Director.
City Librarian Leaving to Accept New Position in Colorado
NORTHRIDGE - Nationally ranked opponents await the CSUN softball team this week as the Matadors have six games on the docket.
CSUN Softball Readies for Nationally Ranked Opponents
The new year got off to a solid start for residential real estate in the Santa Clarita Valley with single-family homes sales up even as median prices of homes and condominiums sold during January posted higher than a year ago, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported Monday.
SCV Home Sales off to Solid Start in New Year
The Santa Clarita Public Library’s fourth annual One Story One City program returns with free, themed events during the entire month of March. The One Story One City initiative encourages citywide discussions and promotes reading across all ages through one story.
One Story One City Program to Begin in March
Learn what it takes to become a part of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
Feb. 21: LA County Fire Department Recruitment Seminar at COC
Join the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce at its inaugural Current Affairs Forum, sponsored by Poole & Shaffery, featuring the President and CEO of the California Chamber of Commerce, Allan Zaremberg.
Mar. 6: Chamber’s Inaugural Current Affairs Forum
SACRAMENTO - Last week, Senator Scott Wilk, R-Antelope Valley, introduced legislation - Senate Bill 1452 - in a move to bring a Global War on Terror Memorial to California.
Wilk Introduces Legislation to Create Global War on Terror Memorial
WASHINGTON (CN) – Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas berated his colleagues Tuesday for rejecting a challenge by gun owners to California’s 10-day “cooling-off” period.
Supreme Court Rejects Challenge by California Gun Owners
1906 - L.A. County accepts Mr. H.C. Register's bid to build (Old) Newhall Jail for $2,237 [story]
NextSCV, newly rebranded from SCV Emerging Leaders, will host a behind-the-scenes tour of the Princess Cruises world headquarters in Valencia, followed by a mixer at The Dudes’ Brewery, on Wednesday, February 28.
Feb. 28: NextSCV Behind-the-Scenes Tour of Princess Cruises HQ
The Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Foundation has added three new members to the board of directors -- Don Kimball, community president at FivePoint; Tracy Lawrence, MD, director of Emergency Services, Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital; and Robert Stern, CPA, Stern, Kory, Morgan & Sreden.
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Foundation Adds 3 to Board
Hollywood Boulevard will be closed for the Oscars between Highland Avenue and Orange Drive from 10 p.m. on Sunday, February 25 to 6 a.m. on Wednesday, March 7.
Hollywood Blvd. Closed for Oscars Feb. 25 to March 7
Westmont scored a 54-41 home win over The Master's University women's basketball team Saturday night, as the Mustangs scored the fewest points in a game this season, shooting just 31 percent from the floor.
The Master’s Can’t Find Groove in Santa Barbara
The TMU Mustangs rallied from a deficit late Saturday afternoon to beat Hope International 4-3 in the nightcap, completing a series and a doubleheader sweep of the No. 8 Royals.
Mustangs’ 4-3 Comeback Sweeps Royals in Closer
Josh Robison slugged a go-ahead, two-run homer in the eighth inning and No. 14 The Master's University rallied from a three-run deficit to beat No. 8 Hope International 7-6 in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Lou Herwaldt Stadium.
Robison Rallies Mustangs Past Royals in Opener
Farmers Insurance agent Jon Albert will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand opening of his new Santa Clarita office on Tuesday, February 20 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Feb. 20: New Farmers Insurance Agent Hosts Grand Opening
The Mustangs opened the second half of their 101-82 win at Westmont College on Saturday with a flurry of steals and blocks and buckets, which helped TMU claim at least a share of the first GSAC title in program history.
Mustangs Claim Share of 1st GSAC Title in Program History
CSUN's fifth annual Maurice Amado Foundation Lecture in Jewish Ethics will feature respected scholar Aaron J. Hahn Tapper, who will examine issues surrounding reconciliation and forgiveness in his talk at Valley Beth Shalom Synagogue in Encino on Wednesday, March 14 starting at 7:30 p.m.
March 14: CSUN Amado Lecture to Explore Forgiving the Unforgivable
A federal grand jury on Friday indicted a 32-year-old Texas man accused of carrying out a five-day, 2 million-email attack on the Los Angeles County Superior Courts computer system in July 2017.
Feds Indict Texas Man in LA County Court Email Hack
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will host live Oscars viewing parties in New York and London for its members and invited film industry guests on Oscar Sunday, March 4.
March 4: Academy to Celebrate Oscar Night in New York, London
College of the Canyons' baseball team beat Chaffey College 12-9 in a wild game on Saturday when the home team scored eight runs in the 7th to gain the win and improve to 7-4.
College of the Canyons Outruns Chaffey College 12-9
The next Canyon Country Advisory Committee meeting at the Mint Canyon Moose Lodge includes a meet-and-greet with 25th District Congressional candidate Michael Masterman-Smith on Wednesday, February 21, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Feb. 21: Canyon Country Advisory Committee Meeting
"NCIS" producer-writer Scott Williams has been added to the lineup of speakers at the 2018 Economic Outlook Conference hosted by the SCV Economic Development Corporation and COC at TPC Valencia on March 8 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
March 8: ‘NCIS’ Producer Joins 2018 SCV Economic Outlook Panel
The William S. Hart Union High School District's Career & College Readiness Department is celebrating Career Education Month in February by providing students a variety of pathways to success.
Hart District Celebrates Career Education Month
Arroyo Seco Junior High School and Saugus High School have partnered to introduce Career Pathways to students, with automotive technology the focus of the next panel on Friday, February 23.
Arroyo Seco, Saugus High Team for Career Pathways Panels
Los Angeles County's Interim Health Officer has issued a Cold Weather Alert for the Santa Clarita Valley through Wednesday night due to the National Weather Service’s forecast for wind chill temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cold Weather Alert Chills SCV Through Wednesday
1803 - Indian family members removed from Caamulus (Camulos) village, Piru area, are baptized at San Fernando Mission [record]
1955 - Actor and nightclub owner Ace Cain incorporates the Rocky Springs Country Club in Sand Canyon [story]
1949 - Short-lived oil drilling operation on Newhall's Arcadia Street ends [story]
The next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set for Tuesday, February 20, starting at 1 p.m.
Feb. 20: LA County Board of Supervisors Meeting
Little, Brown Books recently published CalArts alum Vashti Harrison's (Film/Video MFA 14) debut illustrated book, "Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History."
Vashti Harrison Talks ‘Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History’
UCLA's Hammer Museum has announced the 32 artists including six CalArts alumni who will participate in "Made in L.A. 2018," the fourth edition of the museum's biennial exhibition, which runs June 3 to Sept. 2 at the Westwood museum.
6 CalArtians Among Artists Selected for ‘Made in L.A. 2018’
The Isaura String Quartet will present an evening of music by CalArtians at Human Resources LA in Downtown Los Angeles on Sunday, February 18 starting at 8 p.m.
Feb. 18: Isaura String Quartet to Perform at Human Resources LA