This summer has seen the emergence of the cicadas here in Wellington, New Zealand. In particular the Amphipsalta Zelandica, which is a sort of black and green colour, and one of around 40 species of cicada here in the country.
I’m actually kind of excited to be around for this as I’m told they only emerge every two to three years to mate, lay some eggs, and then die a few weeks later, and they definitely weren’t around last summer!
It’s been kind of fun taking my Lord of the Rings tour groups down into the Mount Victoria forest whilst having this cacophony of chirping and screeching piercing the air around us.
It’s great because for one of the locations we like to show, you really do want that sort of spooky, atmospheric vibe that Peter Jackson had going on when he was filming here and what better way to achieve that than with your own quasi horror movie music?!
And let me tell you, these wee buggers definitely make quite the racket as they call out for a mate. Apparently their ‘chorus’ can get so loud as to be considered an unsafe decibel for human ears!
I’d only ever seen their empty shells on the trees in the forest- the backs of them split open and looking very much like a chest-bursting alien of some description had cracked itself out of the body, leaving only the empty husk to cling, as if in a mockery of life, to the gnarly bark of the macracarpa’s.
And then one day, a week or so ago, I was taking a group down into the forest and instead of just showing off the empty shells, low-and-behold! I finally got to see what these little nunus actually look like once they’ve hatched!
I was lucky enough to not only see one of the adults, but I also got to see a cicada in the process of actually hatching out of the shell, as well as one wee guy who’d obvious just crawled out from the root system and was making his way towards the trunk!
I ended up having to save one of the recently hatched cicadas from being trod on by one of my group only to have the creature decide it quite liked being perched on me and that he was not going to leave for the duration of our time down in the forest (their legs are pretty sticky and great for clinging on!).
To be honest I didn’t try too hard to get rid of him until our time in the forest was up! My group loved the David Attenborough sidetrack so much they nicknamed me “Guideriel” and decided I must be a real life elf and not just a tour guide impersonating one.
And hey, I’ll take that! (;
I’ll leave you with a short 20second video of that cicada I mentioned trying to get to the tree to hatch. You can hear the sound of the rest of them screeching in the background, though I do have to admit they weren’t quite as sinister sounding (or deafening) as they can sometimes be!