DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
A Green Grocer cicada, Cyclochila australasiae. C. australasiae is widely distributed in coastal regions of Australia from South Australia to Queensland. The insect spends its first 6 or 7 years as a nymph underground, feeding on the sap of plant roots. Eventually, in early summer, the mature nymph digs its way out of the ground and climbs a nearby vertical surface. Clasping this substrate, the exoskeleton splits, allowing the adult insect to emerge. This picture, taken in Warrandyte Victoria in early December, is of an adult insect on the bark of a pear tree. It shows two compound eyes (one picture centre) and the simple eyes (to left of centre, two out of three visible), known as ocelli. Compound eyes consist of many small units called ommatidia which produce a mosaic-like image. The function of ocelli may be the rapid perception of light levels changes, assisting stable flight.
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