The cicadas (/sɪˈkɑːdə/ or /sɪˈkeɪdə/) are a superfamily, the Cicadoidea, of insects in the order Hemiptera (true bugs). They are in the suborder Auchenorrhyncha,[a] along with smaller jumping bugs such as leafhoppers and froghoppers. It is divided into the Tettigarctidae, with two species in Australia, and Cicadidae, with more than 1,300 species described from around the world; many undescribed species remain.

Cicadas have prominent eyes set wide apart, short antennae, and membranous front wings. They have an exceptionally loud song, produced not by stridulation, but by vibrating drumlike tymbals rapidly. The earliest known fossil Cicadomorpha appeared in the Upper Permian period; extant species occur all around the world in temperate to tropical climates. They typically live in trees, feeding on sap, and laying their eggs in a slit in the bark. Most cicadas are cryptic, singing at night to avoid predators. The periodic cicadas spend most of their lives as underground nymphs, emerging only after 13 or 17 years, most likely to reduce losses by satiating their predators.

Cicadas have been featured in literature since the time of Homer’s Iliad, and as motifs in art from the Chinese Shang dynasty. They have been used in myths and folklore to represent carefree living and immortality. Cicadas are eaten in various countries, including China, where the nymphs are served deep-fried in Shandong cuisine.

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