Cicada Mania

Dedicated to cicadas, the most amazing insects in the world.

June 27, 2015

Can cicadas see?

Filed under: Anatomy | FAQs — Dan @ 12:45 pm

Yes, cicadas can see. People might assume that cicadas cannot see because they are slow to move when approached or are easy to capture.

Cicada Eyes

Cicadas have 5 eyes. Two large compound eyes, which are used to visually perceive the world around them, and three small, jewel-like, simple eyes called ocelli. We believe the ocelli are used to perceive light & darkness. The fact that there are three of them, arranged in a triangle, may help them triangulate the direction of the sun or the movement of a shadow.

The reason they are easy to capture right after they have molted is that their body parts are not hardened and ready to react quickly. The reason they are easy to catch once their bodies are hardened is often that they want to be caught, due to a species survival strategy called predator satiation (more on that in a future article).


  1. wolfgang planz says:

    the combination of the five eyes must make total sense in an evolutionary sense . I have observed adult cicadas perform breathtaking maneuvers in the air , outmaneuvering the most agile raptor’s , leaving them with no chance of catching them .

  2. Marsha says:

    If we don’t see any evidence of them by Memorial Day are we in the clear ?

    1. Dan says:

      @Marsha, I’m guessing you’re talking about the Brood VIII cicadas. If so, it’s likely you are in the clear.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *