Common name: Chorus cicada, kihikihi-wawā
Order: Hemiptera Family: Cicadidae
In te reo cicadas are called “kihikihi” which almost certainly refers to their trilling calls. New Zealand has more than 40 species of cicada and the Chorus cicada is the largest.
While we think of cicadas as loud, flying insects, they actually spend most of their lives underground. The females lay eggs on plants and the nymphs which hatch out fall to and burrow into the ground. They feed on sap from plant roots until they’re ready to mature. They emerge during the night and shed their skin can often be found tree trunks during the summer. No one knows how long they stay under the ground but in some species it can be several years. The pharoah cicada (Magicicada septendecim) in America spends 17 years under ground!