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March 29, 2011

According to some American mathematicians quoted by BBC religious people will die out. As to the question of rebirth, the case below is quite interesting:

After many years as an underground larva, the cicada reaches the juvenile stage and climbs up on a stem waiting for its final transformation and rebirth.

This adult cicada is slowly leaving the old empty exoskeleton of its nymphal stage. Doi Inthanon, March 18.

As can be seen from the picture, the old underground nymph exoskeleton has limbs adapted for digging, while the whitish adult has normal legs for clinging to bark. The adult’s white proboscis (sucker) is seen between the legs. It contains a stylet which can penetrate bark and wood.  The cicada is a huge relative of the aphids. They belong to the insect suborder Homoptera. Sucking insects may transfer plant viruses, such as the PRSV which infests the Chiang Mai papayas. The wings of this young adult are still small and wrinkled. Within a few hours the cicada will be able to fly and sing, living a short but happy life.

The cicadas are fascinating, loud and in the tropics sometimes large and colourful. You can read more about them in this book by Michel Boulard, which is available at Dokmai Garden in Chiang Mai. The book contains colour photographs and a CD with cicada calls.

Eric Danell

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