Cicada Tattoos: What It Means And Tattoo Placement Options

Cicada Bicep Tattoo @reese_cote

You can find so much tattoo inspiration in nature. Many animals have deep spiritual meanings that people can resonate with. The smaller members of the animal kingdom – insects – also provide incredible inspiration for a meaningful tattoo.

One insect that is definitely worth considering is the cicada. Let’s dive deeper into what a cicada tattoo means as well as tattoo placements you can consider based on pain and longevity.

Bendy Cicada Elbow Tattoo @dallasconte

What Does A Cicada Tattoo Mean? 

These winged insects are normally heard before they’re seen. Mostly in the dusk and early evening during the warmer months, the male cicadas make a buzzing sound to attract females and establish their territories.

“The frequency of the contractions of the tymbal muscle range from 120 to 480 times a second, which is fast enough to make it sound continuous to the human ear,”

Cicada Collarbone Tattoo @kylajaetattoos

In ancient Greek mythology, the cicada was aligned with resurrection and immortality which can be seen in Aristotle’s writings. This insect is also associated with Apollo, the god of the sun as well as music.

The cicada’s symbolism of rebirth could be due to their growth process. Cicadas lay their eggs in the bark of a twig. Once hatched, the nymphs (baby cicadas) fall to the ground where they burrow underground – here, they feed on the sap of the tree.

When the time is right, they rise up from the ground by digging their way out into the light and leaving their youthful shell behind. 

Cicada Back Of Arm Tattoo @v.ffoxx

Due to this process of leaving their shell behind, a cicada tattoo can also mean leaving the past behind and embarking on a new stage in life.

The music they make could make this insect a representation of love. Tattoo SEO says,

“Someone with a cicada tattoo might get this to represent sensuality or romance. The male sings until a mate shows up. It’s quite the display of romance on the part of the male and you might want to represent that with a tattoo.”

Besides choosing a tattoo that has meaning for you, it’s important to make the right tattoo placement decision. 

When it comes to a cicada tattoo design, it can work well in a number of areas of the body. 

Cicada Back Tattoo @tattoo_art_lucia

Cicada Back Tattoo

If you want your cicada tattoo to have its wings extended with a lot of details, you’re going to want to opt for a large surface area. 


  • One pro of a cicada back tattoo is that the back provides ample space to include many details in your design. Cicada wings can have a lot of lines and shading.
  • Another positive about a back tattoo is that it’s super easy to hide – all you have to do is throw on a shirt.


  • Getting tattooed across the spine is not for the faint of heart. Due to the thin skin, lack of muscle and fat, and the plethora of nerves in this area, it can be one of the most painful spots to get tattooed.
  • Another con of a back tattoo is aftercare. During the healing process, it’s important to wash, pat dry, and moisturize your tattoo often. If you’re unable to reach your back tattoo, you may need to tag in a friend. 
Cicada Chest Tattoo @drizzle.and.hurricane

Cicada Chest Tattoo

“A chest tattoo is considered sacred to some people as the tattoo is close to the heart, so the tattoo can have sentimental values attached to them,”

Tattoo Insider

The chest is a popular spot for a cicada tattoo. Just like with the back placement, the chest – whether you opt for an underboob or sternum tattoo or upper chest tattoo – provides a large surface area for details.  


  • Besides the chest providing a good amount of space for details, it’s also a placement that isn’t exposed to the sun often. The sun can seriously damage a tattoo, causing the ink to fade faster. 


  • Chest tattoos are considered to be a painful placement.

“…most chest pieces are going to be painful unless you have lots of body fat or muscle in the area. If you don’t, be prepared to endure a little more,”

  • When it comes to hiding your tattoo, the sternum and underboob area is easier to cover up than top of the chest tattoos. 
Cicada Palm Tattoo @murielzaotattoo

Cicada Hand Tattoo

Hand tattoos are a popular placement! For a cicada tattoo, you could opt for a cicada tattoo design with the wings folded up to fit on a finger. Alternatively, you could spread the cicada’s wings across the back of your hand. However, a hand tattoo should be carefully considered before getting inked. 


  • A great thing about a hand tattoo is that it’s always visible. If you want to be reminded of your tattoo and see it often, don’t choose a place that’s usually hidden or you need a mirror to look at. 


  • Hands are always exposed to the elements, including the sun. The UVA and UVB rays break down ink particles, accelerating the fading process.
  • To counteract this, it’s important to always put sunscreen on your tattoos before walking out the door. Even without the sun, hand tattoos do tend to fade quicker compared to other placements.

“You wash and clean your hands more than any other part of your body, which does impact the permanence of the tattoo,”

Cleopatra Ink
Cicada Knee Tattoo @rachktattoo

Cicada Knee Tattoo

The knee is one of the most unusual places to get a tattoo for a number of reasons. 


  • Because this placement is unpopular, choosing a cicada knee tattoo will be really unique. If you like to stand out from the crowd, this can be a huge pro.
  • Also, the side of the knee can work extremely well with a cicada design. When your knee is bent, the cicada looks like it is resting with its wings folded up. Then, when you flex your leg, the wings spread out. 


  • A knee tattoo can be a painful experience. When the tattoo machine goes on the knee cap, because of the lack of cushioning, tattooees can experience uncomfortable vibrations and sharp, intense pain sensations.
  • Due to the network of bones, ligaments, and tendons, the knee can be a challenge to tattoo evenly. So, if you do choose this placement, make sure to go to a tattoo artist who is well-versed in tattooing knees. 
Dragonfly, Cicada, And Bee Tattoo @laurathedrawer

Cicada Throat Tattoo

The throat is a bold tattoo placement choice. This area is associated with communication, and a tattoo here can represent openness. 


  • Because of its visibility, a throat cicada tattoo can be a daring way to express yourself. Placing a cicada on your throat can also be a representation of your voice and personal growth. 


  • Throat tattoos can be a challenge to heal because our necks move a lot. The constant stretching and movement of the skin can interrupt and prolong the healing process.
  • Also, throat tattoos are not known for their longevity, as Saved Tattoo explains,

“The neck skin is incredibly stretchy, and as one gets older, the skin becomes loose, without elasticity and the ability to bounce back to its original shape. Because of this…the tattoo will also stretch, the ink will spread and lose its original vibrance and shape.”

Colorful Cicada Tattoo @paulnycz

The cicada can be translated into a beautiful tattoo design that is also deeply meaningful. When deciding on your cicada tattoo, make sure to consider a number of placements. Besides design and execution, the placement of your tattoo will play a big role in your tattoo experience as well as how it ages.

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