Lifescapes Gallery

15 / Jun / 2011
The Exiled Prince
Cicada, Kabini
Ganesh H. Shankar

The Exiled Prince

History is replete with tales of legendary heroes going into exile, and returning after conquering the odds, to reclaim their rightful place. In the Hindu epic, The Ramayana, the young Prince Rama had to undergo a fourteen year exile before he was considered ready to claim his throne. While Rama spent his years in the mythical wilderness of Dandakaranya, the hero of our piece has chosen his exile in forests closer home. The Cicada of Kabini begins life as a tiny, rice shaped egg, deposited by the mother in a groove of a tree limb. Once the egg hatches, the baby Cicadas feed on the tree fluids found in the groove. Having stocked up, they then plunge onto the ground, which they proceed to burrow into till they find a tree root that will sustain them for the duration of their self-exile, which could last anywhere between two to seventeen years. Imagine the state of mind of a Cicada emerging as a Nymph after all these years, only to see a fully grown luxury resort at its doorstep. Chances are, though, that he’d feel very much at home, for the dwellings seem just an extension of the forest and feel organically wedded to the land. Having emerged, the adult then hops up the nearest tree and sheds his exoskeleton, inflates his wings with fluid, and sets off looking for a mate. And when he does spot a likely lass, he vibrates the tymbals on his abdomen to produce that amazing music that the male Cicada is so famous for. The song of the Cicada is so unexpectedly resonant and memorable that one is willing to wait ages to hear it again. Even if it takes another seventeen years for the next exile to return!

We at Orange County have loved sharing this story with you, and shall bring you one every fortnight, as part of our Responsible Tourism Initiatives to raise awareness about the nature and culture of the environments we operate in.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 15th, 2011 at 11:29 am and is filed under Insects . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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User Comments
  1. Ganesh HR says:

    Great. I really love it and I learned a lot. Thanks to Orange County and the great story writer Mr. Rajesh Ramaswamy Sir.

  2. mahendra parmar says:


  3. shwetha bhat says:

    Its hard to judge. Is it the snapshots or the luxurious description that accompanies every picture. Its enthralling!!!I have spent 3 hours continuously reading the features. (My clients trying to trace me). Its like there is a Harry Potter world in the woods and I just stepped in. Having stepped I am here to stay.

  4. Ajay Kering says:

    Great Infomation

  5. japit says:


  6. lakshmi vasudevan says:

    Good piece made even more informative by mr.vikram nanjappa.Readers insights are always appreciated.

  7. Tapas says:

    Besides the stunning picture, the story of a Cicada is so fascinating! Thanks for both.

  8. Siraj Mather says:

    Thanks for your mail. Photography is excellent. Congratulations to Mr Ganesh Shanker.

  9. Vikram Nanjappa says:

    Cicadas are insects,and belong to the order Hemiptera, suborder Homoptera and family Cicadidae. Leafhoppers, spittle bugs and jumping plant lice are close relatives of the cicada. Hemiptera are different from other insects in that both the nymph and adult forms have a beak, which they use to suck fluids called xylem from plants. This is how they both eat and drink.There are over 100 species of cicada in North America, and over 2000 species around the world. Cicadas exist on every continent but Antarctica.When many cicadas congregate on warm days, they feed on the tree fluids and often urinate while doing so. This bug urine is called ‘honey dew.Some say that the Rain Tree got its name due to the fact that Cicadas would congregate there are their ” honey dew” felt like rain drops !Lastly, the ‘honey dew’ does not stain, or stink. In fact, it does indeed feels like rain drops

  10. Azizah says:

    Thank you for sharing these titbits, it makes very interesting reading. I am an avid lover of nature and animals and birds. i have always wanted to see Kabini, perhaps next year.

  11. Naveen says:

    simply superb yarr……..

  12. Dr. Satish Sharma says:

    Ahhh…I see my hero going into fortnightly exile, and look forward every wednesday to see Lifescapes arise to claim its rihtful place as my screensaver. Outstanding image again….and what can I say about the storytelling but…wah wah!!!

  13. Dr Sameer R. rao says:

    Wow,this is a real masterpiece of an image Ganesh and Rajesh has described the interesting life cycle of Cicada in his usual engaging fashion.

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