The dictionary[1] defines “sap sucker” as “a loser or whack brother.” One such whack brother is the cicada. It loves nothing more than to latch onto a tree and just suck the sap right out of it. Well, okay, it loves one thing more, and that’s the crispety crunch of its Butterfinger, but honestly it mostly just loves the sap content in that (42%).

Even more than its sapsucking, the cicada is famous for how it sleeps underground for years at a time. Hidden there in Subterranea, waiting. Waiting for its moment… to strike.

cicada close-up

Summer is coming.

A time after it does emerge, it “moults,” by which I mean a second cicada horrifyingly bursts through the exoskeleton, instantly killing its host.

cicada begets cicada

Nobody knows how the other one gets in there.

Special powers

The cicada is one of the loudest insects in existence. Almost as loud as the gong beetle and Asian jewel airhorn.[2] If a sufficient amount of cicadas gather together, they can drown out even the most dedicated lawnmower driver or vuvuzela player.

Not only is it loud like a percussionist, the cicada has the beat-keeping ability of one. It can keep time to the trickiest of time signatures, even the really obscure ones. There are certain time signatures not even known to human composers, who lack the patience and gift for hibernation necessary to play them. I’m talking about bars that take years to complete. This is why you’ll occasionally hear reference to “cicadian rhythms.”


Sleeping below the earth for years at a time has its disadvantages. The cicada misses bunches of episodes of The Simpsons. On the off chance that someone does journey beneath the crust and pass the tests of the molemen, an enemy of the cicada may be able to kill it in its slumber. Also, there’s the bad dreams.

Number of legs


Known aliases

Australians identify the cicada’s various types with names such as “cherry nose, brown baker, red eye, green grocer, green Monday, yellow Monday, whisky drinker, double drummer, and black prince.” As we learned in the kangaroo review, Australians are given far too much opportunity to give animals names.


There are a couple particularly notable types of cicada. The annual jar fly hides below the surface not for years, but mere months – much like Bane of the League of Shadows.


“I will show you where I have made my home while preparing to bring justice. Then I will break you.”

Also like Bane, the annual jar fly can be filled with green beans or moonshine.

On the extreme end of the spectrum is the pharaoh cicada, which went underground in ancient times. It can be identified by the trailing bandages and stench of dust and embalming fluid. It boasts a number of magical powers and serves only the storm god Set.

Horrifying Wikipedia quote

“Female cicadas are prized for being meatier.[6]


Somewhat predictably, the cicada does not get along with the cicada killer. It’s not quite clear what started the feud, but some theorize it had to do with the cicada killer’s name. One must admit it’s in poor taste.

What if it fought a bear?

If it’s awake, it can maybe sing the bear into submission.

If it’s asleep, it will be at an extreme underdog.[3]

Is it noble?


Final rating

Every summer or every 17 summers or once an age, the cicada awakens and sets about being just super-loud. Not to mention every cicada killing the one in front of (outside) it. It is an untrustworthy, treacherous creature in this regard, as well as in board games. It is loyal to at best Set, at worst nothing. That may work fine for Set, but it’s an annoyance for the rest of us. And the molemen have it even worse.






[1]The urban one of course. Do I look like I’m wearing suspenders to you? Okay, yes, I am. Good guess. But they’re not denim.

[2]Recently popular in hip-hop songs.


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2 thoughts on “Cicada

  1. Sam says:

    It’s like having a full sized John Hurt burst through your back while you’re eating pasta!

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