Last Saturday night, at the Midwest Native Plant Conference (more on that in a soon to come post), many of the attendees set out on a nocturnal foray to look for anything interesting. As we passed a smallish white pine, I noticed several newly emerged annual cicada nymphs that had scaled partway up the trunk. Most had split open, and their inhabitants had liberated themselves, but we were interested to see that one nymph was still plodding its way up the tree. After spending a while at John Howard's mothing sheets, several of us circled back to check on the cicada nymph's progress.
I used my Canon Rebel T3i with its 100 mm macro lens and Speedlite 430 flash to make these photos. Fortunately, I had the camera's time and date stamp set correctly. The first photo, above, was made at 11:08 pm. The cicada within its soon to be former larval shell is pushing outwards; you can see the dorsal (upper) surface of the shell beginning to rupture.
At 11:41, the cicada is hanging straight down, legs free, and giving periodic tremors as it pushes itself free. It is almost as if the insect is nearly imperceptibly oozing itself from its larval case.