Two days ago I was looking at the blog Backyard and Beyond and learned a new word: exuviae. Entomologists (biologists who study insects) use this Latin plural to designate the cast-off exoskeleton of an insect that has molted. The word came at a good time, because when I was at Bull Creek last week I discovered not only a tiny grasshopper that looked like it was wearing military camouflage, and not only dozens of roughstem rosinweed plants in full flower, but also on a leaf of one of the rosinweeds the exuviae of the cicada (or maybe I should say ex-cicada) that you see here. Such sloughed-off “skins” often last for quite a while, during which time they’re exposed to the elements and can get as dirty as this one.
© 2011 Steven Schwartzman
(For the technically minded, points 1, 2, 5, and 8 in About My Techniques apply to today’s photograph.)