Found on the Cobble Hill sidewalk: the forewing of a dog day cicada. (Earlier posts about cicadas are here and here.) The size (1.5″ across) and green color identify it. You will, I believe, be pleased if you click on the image to open it up to see it larger.
Cicadas, like most bugs, have four wings. In cicadas, the hind wings are smaller, tucked under the forewings, and harder to see. In this case, this forewing was the only part of the bug I found; it may have been clipped off by a predator.
BTW, the flies, which include mosquitos, have only one pair of wings, which is why that buzzy gang are all in the order Diptera (ptera is wing). [Diptera do have small, club-like structures where their second pair of wings would be; these help them stabilize their flight]. Bees, meanwhile, have the four wings but merge them together with a sort of natural velcro for flight so it looks they have two. Beetle forewings have evolved into hard elatra, or shell-like coverings of the more delicate hindwings. Tricky bugs. “Endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful….”
The pattern of veins on an insect wing is known as “wing venation” and varies with species, making it important for taxonomy. I know virtually nothing about this level of detail, but I love the mark of Zorro I see here.
(This is being written as I listen to a cicada out back beyond the Back 40. It’s a soothing sort of sibilant shusshing sound, rising, then trailing off…. A deft hand with the maracas, a mellow rain stick.)