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A BIG grass hopper

On Jan 23rd I walked out onto the verandah and discovered this BIG grasshopper. What makes it so special is that I have never seen one so large.

He stayed still for over 10 minutes and let me take many photos of him.

I was not sure I would get very close.

He was almost 4 inches long. This pic was taken with the camera just 3 inches from him and still he didn't move.

Finally he had studied me enough and he jumped (not flew) up to the top of the tree in front of our house, a distance of about 20 feet.

Photos by Urso Branco

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Other Insects we have seen

Here is a perfect Brasilian Beetle. Notice he has Brasilian Green and Yellow colours. He is about 3/4 of an inch long.

Here is a black beetle in Judy's hand. Judy is fearless.

Here is a Barata (Cockroach)( Cucaracha in Spanish). He is about 3/4 of an inch long.

Now this is poop, about the size of a pea. When you see this you must be very very cautious.
Because this is the poop of a caterpillar that burns. They can give very serious burns just by crawling on you skin.

This is the monster who made such big poop. Can you see him? He has perfect camouflage. He is the same colour of the leaves in this bush in our front yard.

You can see himclearer in this pic.

Now you can see him for sure. He eats the leaves, stem and all. And he moves around the bush fairly quickly.

Here is another one.

As this ruler shows, he is over 3 1/2 inches long. He will make a huge white butterfly with an 8 inch wingspan.

An hour after that previous pic he had fallen to the ground and transformed into this beautiful caterpillar.

He crawled up the wall.

He was trying to get over the wall to freedom.

Here he is on top of the wall, uncertain whether to go over or not.

While he was exploring the outside of the wall someone was searching for him.

He went back inside and went along the bottom of the wall.

Chico was on the wall looking for more of these deadly monsters. It is a good thing Chico didn[t catch any of them because he could get a serious burn from them.

The caterpillar finaly made his way out the gate. Judy then pickied him up and took him to the forest nearby.

Here is another camouflage expert we saw in Poços de Caldas. Is it a leaf or an insect on Judy's hand?

It is a fascinating insect that looks like a leaf. As you can see it is almost 2 inches long.

From time to time, as we see more unique insects we will show them to you here.

The most common insect here is tiny mosquitos. Sometimes you cannot even see them but the leave a miserable itchy red spot on your skin. We use Johnson's Baby Oil, Mosquito Repellant to help ward off the little nasty bugs.

When we do get bitten we use CremeFenergan. We put a small dab on the bite and soon there is no more itch.

The other very common annoyance here is house flies. They come in all sizes and are very bothersome. We spray but they appear immune to anything accept fly swatters.

Photos by Urso Branco

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Up Close and Personal

Here are two pics of a live Cigarra in Judy's hand. They can't bite because the have no mouth.

It was fascinating to see how docile these insects are.

We have never seen the up close like this before this year! Fortunately this fellow did not sing while in Judy's hand.

Photos by Urso Branco

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The Cigarras come in gangs now

Here are two Cigarras on the tree in front of our house.

Our cats also bring them inside the house.

On several occasions we have found the cats playing with the Cigarras. One day I caught our dog Nine and our cat Chico playing with one in the dining room. It got free and ran across the floor into the kitchen.

It hid under the vegetable cart where it was safe, then later it flew away.

We have also noticed either there is a different breed of Cigarra here now or they have changed their tune. Their sound now is a continuous series of grunt like sounds.

We see and hear them almost every afternoon now. We haven't found any dead ones yet so we conclude the birds are getting them.

Photos by Urso Branco

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Back Again on November 3, 2008

I heard the very loud sound of Cigarras again on Nov 3, 2008.

It seems they travel all over town. From our verandah you can hear the chorus of Cigarras singing loudly from various districts in town. They move en masse from place to place. They may stay at our house for one to three days then move on, only to return again another day.

This fellow was sitting on the power pole this time. Notice he is on the back of the pole hiding from the bird. The bird can hear him but cannot see him. After a couple hours both the Cigarra and the bird left. I don't think the bird got his snack.

This one was back in the tree.

They have been around town since early September. Here we are in November and they are still here.

Photos by Urso Branco

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A Visitor on Oct 29, 2008

This fellow came to visit several times in late October. Here he is on the tree in front of our house.

Notice how he hangs under the branch. Is that to escape the birds?

He stayed there for several hours.

After a few hours he flew away to another part of town.

Photos by Urso Branco

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More information about Cigarras (Cicadas)

Here is a collection of random facts gathered from the Internet about Cigarras (Cicadas)?

The cicada is a large-bodied, dark-colored, flying insect with four long, transparent wings and large eyes. When at rest, the cicada holds the wings peaked over the body like a tent. Cicadas are not locusts (locusts are a type of grasshopper). Cicadas can damage twigs when eggs are laid in the twig (unlike locusts and grasshoppers who damage plants by defoliation - leaf eating).

Noise: Males make a shrill, buzzing call by vibrating two drum-like membranes (called tymbals) covering hollow chambers on the abdomen using muscles (females do not make this noise) - they usually do this while perching high up in trees. (This is unlike grasshoppers, who make noise by rubbing their back legs together.) Male cicadas call to attract females. The loudest insect in the world is the African cicada (Brevisana brevis); it regularly produces sounds at 106.7 dB at a distance of 50 cm (this is about as loud as a power saw).

Diet: Cicadas eat plant sap while in their long juvenile (nymph) stage.

Anatomy: Like all insects, the cicada has three body parts (the head, thorax and abdomen), two large, compound eyes, clear wings, and six jointed legs. They breathe through spiracles - small holes in the abdomen. The antennae are short and bristly. Adult cicadas range in size from 1 to 2 inches (2.5 - 5 cm) long.

Life cycle: The cicada has the longest life cycle of any insect, ranging from 2 to 17 years. A rice-shaped egg is laid in tender twigs and plant stems. The egg hatches into a nymph (the larval stage) and drops to the ground. The nymph burrows into the soil and crawls to a tree root (using its claw-like front legs). The nymph will eat the tree's sap. The nymph stage lasts up to 17 years in periodical cicadas; dog day cicadas have a shorter life cycle. There is no pupal stage. When the nymph is fully grown and the temperature is optimal, the nymph tunnels to the surface and goes through its final molt (shedding its hard outer skin) and emerges as a winged adult. When the wings dry and harden, the cicada flies in search of a mate. Unlike many other insects, all of the periodical cicadas in an area emerge at once.

Classification: Kingdom Animalia (animals), Class Insecta (insects), Order Homoptera (aphids, cicadas), Family Cicadidae (all cicadas), many Genera, including Genus Magicicada (long period, red-eyed cicadas - with a 13 or 17 year life cycle) and Genus Tibicen (dog-day cicada -- with a 2 to 5 year year life cycle).

Do They Bite?

Even though cicadas may land on you or bump into you, you don't have to worry about getting bitten. Cicadas are harmless. They may cause some slowing of the growth of trees from the amount of sap the cicadas consume, but they won't cause permanent damage. Cicadas don't bite or sting in any way. The worst they will do is annoy you with their incessant singing.

Limited Run
The life span of an adult cicada is short. As mysteriously as they arrive, they will disappear. Most will be eaten by birds and other predators. Even the nymphs are not safe below the ground, as they are often preyed upon by beetle larvae and other ground-dwelling parasites.

Photos by Urso Branco

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A Visit from Cigarras

On Oct 22, 2008 I finally got to see live Cigarras in Águas da Prata.

Here are a couple pics of one of our cats, Chico, looking at a cigarra singing loudly on the power pole in front of our house. Chico was wondering how he might safely jump up and catch the Cigarra.

I was sitting on the verandah and I saw two Cigarras fly onto the post. I took two pics here, one without flash and one with flash because the sun had already set. Their singing is ear piercing!

I took several pics but due to the difficulty with lighting I was disappointed with most of them. So one of the Cigarras (there were 5 on the post by now) one of them flew onto the verandah and invited me to take some good closeups with flash. Here he is on the post in the verandah.

It was exciting to get close like this. After all, I had never seen a live one before.

This is a great view from the side. He was over 5cm long.

Here is a good view of his belly. He is a HE because he was singing. SHE`s click!

He stayed up there for quite a while allowing me to take many pics.

Then he decided to go inside the house and look around. As he flew about the living room the cat, Chico, was going crazy over this intrusion into his private domain. The other two cats were not around so they didn`t join the chase. All the dogs just ignored the visitor. You can see the Cigarra on top of the picture frame. At least he didn`t sing in the house. That would have been extremely loud.

Here he is close up. He hung around for half an hour then flew out the door.

For me it was exciting to finally see a live Cigarra. They are amazing insects.

Photos by Urso Branco

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A Cigarra in Brasil

This is a short post to show you what Cigarras in Brasil look like.

This one was found by Judy, in our garden, but alas he has gone to Cigarra heaven. You could say he sang his heart out. *SMILE*

Here he is on a white background.

Here is the same body on a green felt background.

He is approximately 6 cm long. I still hope to see a live one some day.

Photos by Urso Branco

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Gallery of Cigarras.

See the many photos like these of Cigarras (cicadas) from many countries. Scroll down for a video and the link to Cicadamania.

Click this photo to watch the video of US cicadas - dialogue in English

To see many photos, videos and other information about Cigarras (cicadas) click Cicadamania.

Urso Branco

Read More, See More Photos and Read the Comments . . . CLICK HERE