heard of it before, never seen it. but had the chance to experience it with a bunch of 30 students at labrador park on 18th april. a first for all of us!
student: Cher, its raining…!
me: eh… doesnt look like it.. why is it so noisy?
me: OMG!!! its cicadas!!! its cicada rain!!!!!!!
student: what does that mean?
me: thats cicada’s peeing on you guys!!! get under the shelter!
student (after 5 min): how come cicada so small can contain so much pee? how come they can pee continuously for so long? is it really pee? will it smell? why do they make so much noise when they pee?
so here’s what i found out. its actually not cicada peeing. its plant sap. you see, cicadas pierce into the stems and suck out the nutrient rich food. whatever extra fluid is secreted from their butt/back/end… and i think it’s not even processed, so you cant consider it pee.
male cicadas make really high pitched loud sounds, acts as a deterrent to birds that eat these insects. cicada’s also use these as warning sounds and for mating purposes, as you may have already guessed. typical animal stuff. but to ensure that one species mate with the same species (cos there are 2500 species of cicadas), they each have distinguishable sounds, which the human ear may not be able to differentiate.
crickets are often mistaken for cicadas. i dont quite know how to recognise the differences yet. but i know the sounds we usually hear in nature reserves are cicadas.
anyway, just in case you cant see, here’s a zoomed in version. and i did not photoshop my photo. (trust sony)
btw, tidechasers wrote something abt labrador cicada rain, and here’s what you can do with a DSLR. check out their pics, they are far better than mine! you can even see the cicadas lined on the trees. cool.
and in case you dont know what cicadas look like, here’s a dead one.
plus, check out cicada moulting.