A bit too much biodiversity …

For several weeks I’ve been trying to track down what I thought might be a strange new frog in the garden. The discovery that the “frog like” sound was coming from a Bladder Cicada (charming name) has prompted me to re-post this lament from several years ago. The Bladder Cicada uses its large hollow abdomen as an echo-chamber to amplify its mating call – as if cicadas need amplification!

Bladder Cicada

Below is my original post and nothing has changed, although I have heard a rumour that this year might be worse …

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Yellow Monday


It’s not enough that I’ve discovered still more variations of cicada in the garden, now they’ve gone and organised themselves into shifts !!

First the Dawn Shift which starts at five am and continues until six.  So just when you think “ Thank God they’ve stopped” you realise that it’s time to get up.

Then after one hour’s silence, the Day Shift starts.  The Day Shift runs from seven am to six pm.  This is when all the species of cicada not already rostered on the Dawn, Dusk or Graveyard shifts, compete with each other in an attempt to send you troppo with waves of their ear-piercing calls.

The Dusk Shift starts at six, just in time to drown out both the news and current affairs programmes on television.  It stops suddenly at around eight, when the Graveyard Shift takes over for a few hours.  The Graveyard Shift is the quietest of all, as dying cicadas crash into windows and lights, then fall to the ground on their backs and rotate like demented helicopters often uttering strange and un-nerving distress calls.

I’m all for a bit of biodiversity, but this is carrying it a bit too far …

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Black Prince? (with beautiful gold spots)

Tortured by cicadas …

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Bottle Cicada

Another of the consequences of our recent rain has been the emergence of thousands of cicada nymphs from their seven-year hibernation underground, to shed their skins, mate, lay eggs and then die.  All this occurs in the space of a few weeks.

For some people these are the longest weeks of summer, as waves of ear-piercing calls roll through the bush, drowning out all other sounds and making conversation difficult if not impossible.  My friend Mary Ann who lives just out of Bellingen on a farm, is being driven slowly insane by 14 hours of non-stop noise every day.

I discovered that Australia has over 200 species of cicada.  Amongst them the colourfully named Black Prince, Floury Baker, Yellow Monday and Whisky Drinker (due to its red nose). Fortunately, it appears that only the Golden Drummer, Bottle, and Green Grocer have so far found my garden attractive.  Unfortunately though, the Green Grocer is said to be one of the loudest insects in the world!

They are quite an attractive insect, but this amazing and slightly creepy film on American cicadas will make you look at them in a new light!