Cicada Illustrations

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"Cherry Nose Cicada" and "Empty Nymphal Case" are two illustrations by Australian contemporary artist Di Mathews (aka: Diavma) Copyright Hexagonal Mandala Australia. Both images are hand painted using a pressure sensitive pen and digital drawing tablet and are presented on 30x42cm = 12x16inch museum quality artist paper.

There are approximately 200 species of cicada in Australia. Cicadas are harmless sap suckers who are famous for their loud shrilling song. They lay eggs within slits that they create in twigs and branches of trees. When the eggs hatch the nymphs fall to the ground and burrows down among the roots. Some species stay underground for up to 17 years before emerging to shed its nymphal case. Once shed it is an adult with wings. An adult lives for only a week or two. Although they are particularly large insects, they are often unseen, positioning themselves high in trees. Their empty larval cases are often seen around lower parts of trees and ground and are often collected by children. This is an illustration of a vacant nymphal case. They are empty, brittle shells with a slight transparency.

This particular cherry-nose cicada is the first live cicada I had encountered. Attracted by our light it flew in from the dark of night. The portrait of this cicada shows its beautiful wing still ruffled from its abrupt landing, usually the wings fold down neatly when not in flight. My children and I observed his huge size and colourful markings in amazement. We weren’t even sure what type of insect it was at first because we had not seen a live cicada previously and because it did not look like the empty cicada shells we were so used to. This presented an opportunity to research. Since then we have been lucky enough to also record other live cicada species in this area.

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