Why did most dug-up nymphs have red eyes?
When we find nymphs crawling on the
surface, they are mostly brown, like this:
But most nymphs that were dug out of
their underground tunnels were pale tan
or yellowish, with bright red eyes:
So, what's the story? Here are two ideas:
1. The red-eyes may be a different kind
We went to the Cicada
gallery and found pictures of periodical
cicada nymphs with red eyes. However,
the periodical cicadas seemed much
more orange and were a different shape.
So, we're not convinced this is the answer.
2. The red-eyes may change into brown-
eyes as they grow and mature.
This makes sense, because the two types
were about the same size and shape.
Maybe the color change camouflages the
nymphs, so they are harder to see once
they dig to the surface. However, we were
unable to test this idea, because our
captured red-eyes all died within a few days.
For now, this remains a mystery!
What do you think?
E-mail us at Cicadas@SaltTheSandbox.org
Here are some Web sites that we used to research this question:
University of Connecticut Cicada Central
< http://www.eeb.uconn.edu/collections/cicadacentral/magi/ >
Dan Century's Cicada Mania
< http://www.dancentury.com/cicada/ >
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Copyright 2000 Eric D. Gyllenhaal
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This page was created on August 30, 2000, and it was last updated on September 16, 2000.