Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday Species: the Apache Cicada

I apologize for the long hiatus from posting. For my absence, I decided to start a new posting schedule, one of which will introduce a new species of plant or animal every Sunday. Today, I introduce to you the Apache cicada.

Having lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for most of my life, I didn't get much interaction with cicadas. I still don't but I am definitely made aware of their presence by their buzzing. When I first moved to Palm Springs, I didn't even know they were in this territory. That buzzing I heard all the time, I simply thought was bad wiring. I remember ignorantly commenting to my fiance about how Palm Springs should really fix their electrical systems. He promptly corrected me and told me that no, those are cicadas. Today, they reminded me that they were back this summer, and in force! Driving down the street with my windows open, every tree hummed with joy.

The Diceroprocta Apache cicada lives in the southwest region of the United States. Like all typical cicadas, they live as nymphs underground and feed on roots and tree sap, only to come out once every 3-years to mate and eventually die. Here in the Sonoran Desert area, the Apache cicadas have overlapping "schedules" so are heard (but seldom seen) in the early summer every year. 

Much to many peoples' surprise, the Apache cicada is able to survive harsh temperatures out in the open by sweating the nectar it feeds on. This allows for them to have as much opportunity to mate as possible during their short adult lives. As the males buzz for hours on end throughout the day and night, the females are attracted to the sound and are able to continue the cycle of life. Then about two weeks later, the buzzing ends and we look forward to a new chorus next summer. Until next time, Apache cicada!

Picture from


  1. My daughter is fascinated with these creatures. Now I can surprise her with this info. Thanks!

  2. You are very welcome Allison! They are definitely interesting little guys. It's amazing to walk down the street and have all the car noises almost completely drowned out by their buzzing.

    Thank you for reading. :)


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