Bermuda Cicada (Tibicen bermudiana)

The Bermuda Cicada, also known as the Bermuda singer, is an endemic insect that was once very common.  Adult cicadas are quite large, ranging between 1-2 inches long, dark in colour, have large eyes and 4 long, transparent wings. 

Did you know that cicadas have one of the longest life cycles of any insect in the world?  Eggs are usually laid in tree bark.  After an egg hatches, the nymph (baby cicada) emerges and drops to the ground. It then burrows into the soil and crawls to a tree root where it sucks tree sap through straw-like mouthparts.  The nymph stage can last for years (17 years for one species of cicada in America).  When the nymph is fully grown it will tunnel to the surface, molt (shed its hard outer skin) and emerge as an adult with wings.  Male cicadas will then fly off and land in trees where they can be heard making a loud buzzing sound in the afternoon or evening.  They make this noise to attract females. 

It is believed that Bermuda’s cicadas were dependant on Bermuda Cedar trees for their survival, and when the cedar forests died in the 1940s the cicadas began to quickly disappear.  Those few that survived were eaten by the introduced Kiskadee.  Scientists now fear that Bermuda’s cicada is extinct.  The last one heard buzzing was on Nonsuch Island back in the early 1990s.