See You Later Cicada/ Exuvia Aubade

Some days, I have to question my decision to sign up for an 8 A.M. insect biology class. I have never been a morning person. We’ve delegated cockroach cleanup duties to my roommates because I’m afraid of them. I do not know the pain of a bee sting and I would prefer to keep it that way.

Somehow, it is halfway through the semester and I am surviving. Not only are we surviving, but we have victoriously captured thirty or so specimens for our collection. More importantly, we have gained the hunting instinct. When you are assigned to catch a wide variety of insects and your grade depends on it, you see the world in a different way.

You stop at trees and stare, waiting for something to stick out. You watch butterflies to try to figure out how to anticipate their movements while cursing yourself for not bringing your net along. You wear your socks over your pants to protect yourself from chiggers as you enter the tall grass.

Sometimes, your dedication pays off. A few days ago, our 8 A.M. lecture ended and I desperately needed caffeine to make it through the rest of the day. I walk to coffee house and get a double iced Americano. I think to myself that all is well. It’s time to sit down, sip my coffee, and get some work done. I start walking towards the library and I spot something wriggling on the ground. It’s a cicada!


No, not just the exuvia, but the thing itself. For some reason, it was barely hanging on to life. Now was my chance! But I didn’t have a jar. I looked around. Nothing useful in sight, but I do see another cicada that has been crushed. If I leave the site, this guy might get crushed before I get a chance to collect him. There’s no other choice. I empty my coffee into the grass. I’ve got a container now!

I crouch down and carefully place the cicada into the cup. A couple of maneuvers later, and the lid is secure. I carry the cup back to coffeehouse to show my lab partner but when I arrive, she is already gone. Darn! At this point, I’m too excited to simply walk to the lab to place him in the freezer, so I turn to one of my friends and interrupt her sociology readings. The people next to us stared and squirmed. I’m guessing they thought I was insane, but I didn’t care. At the end of the day, it’s what’s on the inside (of our kill jar) that counts.


Picture By Paul venter – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

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