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Posts Tagged ‘recipe’

Late Cicadas

Cicada on burdock  For the past few days, I have been finding dead or near death dog day cicadas everywhere. One in my weed patch (not dead yet), one on the mailbox (I’m feeling better…) and one on the sidewalk just yesterday (a late cicada, a cicada that has gone to meet it’s maker, it’s pushing up daisies).

I suppose most of them have mated, perhaps laid eggs and are now going on up to the giant tree root in the sky (click here to learn why). But I have also noticed these cicadas have a white fungal thingy (yes, thingy!) growing on them and I’m wondering if this is hastening their demise.

A quick search revealed a whole bunch of fungi that infect cicadas. There is a fungus called Cordyceps heteropoda, which infects an Australian species, whose by-product is being studied for possible medical use in organ transplants! Another fungus, Massospora cicadina, seems to affect only the periodical cicadas with icky results (it makes their bums fall off…”abdobums”, that is ;-). **As an aside, this is a fun, witty blog to spend some time looking through: http://hosts.cce.cornell.edu/mushroom_blog/

Basically, insects seem to suffer inordinatly from fungal attacks. In fact, there’s a whole branch of study covering this with the fancy pants name of entomopathogenic fungi.

It’s enough to make you wonder why anyone would want to eat a cicada. And yet, people do…

When I worked at a small city park many years ago, I came across a woman collecting cicada exoskeltons in a bag. She said she takes them home and fills them with a chocolate mixture, refrigerates them and then it’s chow time! According to her, she learned this from her mother who is from South America.

exoskeleton Should you have a sudden urge to whip up something with a touch of cicada, here is the cookbook for you. Please note that it is advised that you do NOT eat cicadas (for many reasons: allergic reaction possible, they soak up pesticides, your mate may never kiss you again…) but who can resist a recipe called “Cicada Tartlets”?!

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