A Big 'Un
When my mother died in 2002, she left a little box in her estate labeled "Texas bug."
A native Texan, she grew up on a West Texas ranch where she loved to ride horses. She may have collected the bug on one of her horseback rides.
Or someone may have collected it for her.
She kept it.
The bug, as she would be the first to say, is "a big 'un."
It measures two-and-a-half inches long and an inch wide. Its coloration, an integration of black, mahogany and white, is striking. And, you can't help but notice its widely spaced bulging eyes and its transparent, deeply veined reddish wings.
It's a cicada, and remarkably well preserved.
I've never seen one quite like it, 'tho cicadas abound in California, too. In fact, about 65 species of cicadas live in California, according to Jerry Howell and Charles Hogue, authors of the book, California Insects.
Globally, there are some 2500 species of cicadas.
Cicadas are "sound bugs" as opposed to "sound bytes." During courtship, the males "sing" loudly (well, some folks describe their acoustic endeavors as high-pitched screams--which would definitely get them ousted from American Idol). Blame it on the tymbals that the males possess at the base of the abdomen.
For sure, the cicada produces the loudest of all insect sounds. Listen to a cicada chorus provided by the University of Michigan and you'll promptly turn down the sound.
I looked up a checklist of cicadas prominent in Texas and came up with this site.
Still don't know what it is, but it looks a lot like Diceroprocta bibbyi or Bibby's cicada.
It's a "big 'un."