Cicada Mania

Dedicated to cicadas, the most amazing insects in the world.

May 11, 2019

2019 Periodical Cicada Stragglers – Expect Them

Filed under: Periodical Stragglers — Dan @ 9:06 am

Where is everyone?

We expect some periodical cicadas to emerge earlier and later than expected this year:

  • Members of Brood IV, the Kansan Brood, should emerge in IA, KS, MO, NE, OK & TX. Brood IV last emerged 4 years ago.
  • Members of Brood XXIII, the Mississippi Valley Brood, should emerge in AR, IL, IN, KY, LA, MO, MS, & TN. XIX last emerged 4 years ago.
  • Members of Brood X are emerging, so far in the Virginia area, but they have the potential to emerge anywhere in DE, GA, IL, IN, KY, MD, MI, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, TN, VA, and WV. 2-year early emergences are rare, but it happens. Brood X is expected to emerge in 2 years.

We’re getting a lot of reports from the Anacostia area of Washington D.C. and Maryland.

Here’s an example of someone Tweeting about a Brood X “straggler” on Twitter.

Use the Cicada Safari App to report them. See a map of sightings reported by the app.

Periodical cicadas are cicadas insects that emerge periodically, and not annually. In North America, there are 7 species of periodical cicadas, 3 of which have a 17-year lifecycle, and 4 have a 13-year lifecycle, and all 7 belong to the genus Magicicada. Here is a chart that shows where they are expected to emerge next. Magicicada regularly straggle — some emerge before or after they’re expected to.

Typically 17-year cicada stragglers emerge 4 years early, and 13-year cicada stragglers emerge 4 years late, but 1, 2 and even 8 year deviations are possible — see the probability chart.

At this point, most people question the use of the term “straggler” to define something that emerged early rather than late. If you’re uncomfortable using the term “straggler”, you can use the term “precursor” for cicadas than emerge earlier than expected. You might make up your own slang for them, like “deviant”, “pioneer” or “laggard” too.

May 1, 2019

Cicada Safari app for tracking Magicicada periodical cicadas

Filed under: Citizen Science,Gene Kritsky,Magicicada,Periodical — Dan @ 9:28 pm

Mount St. Joseph University has released a new app called Cicada Safari. Its purpose is to help you identify periodical (Magicicada, 17-year, 13-year, “locusts”) cicadas, and share the location you found them. Scientists like Dr. Gene Kritsky, of Mount St. Joseph University, will use the data to determine exactly where periodical cicadas exist.


See a map of sightings reported by the app.

Judging by screenshots of the app, it looks like you can 1) identify cicadas, 2) take a photo and share it, 3) map the location where you found it, 4) compete with other cicada scientists for the most cicadas found. Looks that way at least.

Cicada Safari App

Cicada Safari App

April 20, 2019

Cicada Papers Published in 2019

Filed under: Papers and Documents — Dan @ 8:59 am

This is a running list of papers or documents published about cicadas in the year 2019. 12 so far (as of March).

If I missed an article, email me at


  1. Characterization of polymorphic loci for two cicada species: Cryptotympana atrata and Hyalessa fuscata (Hemiptera: Cicadoidae). Author(s): Hoa Quynh Nguyen,Soyeon Chae, Erick Kim, Yikweon Jang. Link to paper.


  1. Evolutionary hysteresis and ratchets in the evolution of periodical cicadas. Author(s): Jaakko Toivonen and Lutz Fromhage. Link to paper.
  2. The effects of pulsed fertilization and chronic herbivory by periodical cicadas on tree growth. Author(s): Louie H. Yang, Richard Karban. Link to paper.
  3. Mitochondrial Genomics Reveals Shared Phylogeographic Patterns and Demographic History among Three Periodical Cicada Species Groups. Author(s): Zhenyong Du, Hiroki Hasegawa, John R Cooley, Chris Simon, Jin Yoshimura, Wanzhi Cai, Teiji Sota, Hu Li. Link to paper.
  4. Homoptera – Cicadas and Hoppers. Author(s): Ying Wang, Xiao Zhang, Tingying Zhang, Xue Liu, Chungkun Shih, Yunzhi Yao, Dong Ren. Link to paper.
  5. Mesodiphthera Tillyard, 1919, from the Late Triassic of Queensland, the oldest cicada (Hemiptera: Cicadomorpha: Cicadoidea: Tettigarctidae). Author(s): KEVIN J. LAMBKIN. Link to paper.
  6. Out of Africa? A dated molecular phylogeny of the cicada tribe Platypleurini Schmidt (Hemiptera: Cicadidae), with a focus on African genera and the genus Platypleura Amyot & Audinet‐Serville. Author(s): Benjamin W. Price, David C. Marshall, Nigel P. Barker, Chris Simon, Martin H. Villet. Link to paper.
  7. Ecophysiological responses to climate change in cicadas. Author(s): Minoru Moriyama , Hideharu Numata. Link to paper.


  1. Intra- and Interspecific Prey Theft in Cicada Killers (Hymenoptera: Apoidea: Sphecius) . Author(s): J R Coelho, C W Holliday, J M Hastings. Link to paper.


  1. Phylogeny and biogeography of the leaf-winged cicadas (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha: Cicadidae). Author(s): Tatiana Petersen Ruschel, Luiz Alexandre Campos. Link to paper.
  2. A Simple Model of Periodic Reproduction: Selection of Prime Periods. Author(s): Raul Abreu de Assis, Mazílio Coronel Malavazi. Link to paper.
  3. First hairy cicadas in mid-Cretaceous amber from northern Myanmar (Hemiptera: Cicadoidea: Tettigarctidae). Author(s): Yanzhe Fu, Chenyang Cai, Diying Huang. Link to paper.
  4. First hairy cicadas in mid-Cretaceous amber from northern Myanmar (Hemiptera: Cicadoidea: Tettigarctidae). Author(s): Yanzhe Fu, Chenyang Cai, Diying Huanga. Link to paper.

March 24, 2019

Platypleura watsoni = Platypleura mokensis

Platypleura watsoni, also known as Platypleura mokensis, is a cicada found in Thailand, India, and Myanmar (Burma), and very likely adjacent nations.

Photo by Michel Chantraine:
Platypleura mokensis

Scientific classification:
Family: Cicadidae
SubFamily: Cicadinae
Tribe: Platypleurini
Genus: Platypleura
Species: Platypleura watsoni (Distant, 1897)


  1. Species name information comes from Allen Sanborn’s Catalogue of the Cicadoidea (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha).

March 23, 2019

Are Cicadas in danger of extinction?

Filed under: Extinct — Dan @ 12:09 pm

In recent years there have been quite a few articles & papers about declines in insect populations (see the list at the end of this article). Chances are you’ve seen one of these articles appear on Twitter or Facebook, or heard about it on TV, radio, podcasts, etc. I cannot vouch for the information in these articles, and I definitely cannot speak about topics like climate change or pesticides, as I lack the knowledge. I can talk about other pressures on cicada populations, and so I will.

Image: In the film Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos decimates half of all life in the Universe, including cicadas. In real life, depending on where you live, it’s likely that more than half of the cicadas have been eliminated.

Decreasing habitat

Most cicadas are tree parasites. Reduce the number of trees, and you reduce the number of cicadas. It is a simple equation.

As you travel around your town, imagine all the places that there were once trees, and then imagine all the cicadas lost along with those trees.

Human beings (Homo sapiens) require a lot of space. We need space for our homes, schools, government buildings, the places we work, the places we play, places to grow our food & lumber, lands to mine for minerals, and the roads, rails, and airports that tie it all together. A lot of spaces that are now claimed by humanity were once home to cicadas (and other creatures).

The more we humans expand, the more cicada habitat contracts, and so the number of cicadas will naturally decline.

Invasive species

Invasive species — organisms introduced into a non-native habitat — pose a threat to cicadas by destroying cicada habitat. These include insects, worms, plants, or any other life form that weakens or kills trees, or otherwise disrupts cicada habitat. This USDA website is a good place to start to familiarize yourself with invasives.

One invasive species, in particular, that has without a doubt reduced cicada habitat in North America is the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). EABs have killed millions of ash trees in North America. Each tree lost to EABs can represent the loss of thousands of cicadas, particularly Magicicada periodical cicadas.

The Spotted Lanternfly, native to Asia, is currently spreading in the eastern United States. It has become quite a menace in Pennsylvania, where it destroys trees and other plans. Most folks are concerned about its impact on agriculture, but I’m more concerned about its impact on ordinary trees outside of farms, where cicadas live. I’m also concerned that measures taken to fight the Spotted Lanternfly, might harm cicadas since they share the same suborder (Auchenorrhyncha) and similar biology.

Recent Cicada Exitictions

One species of cicada and two broods of periodical cicadas went extinct over the past 150 years. Tibicen bermudiana went extinct in the 1950s due to a cedar blight. Brood XI Magicicadas were last recorded in 1954 in near the Ashford/Willington town line in eastern Connecticut. Brood XXI Magicicadas were last recorded in in 1870, in the Apalachicola River Valley in Florida. Given that new cicadas are discovered or described every year, it’s possible that other species of cicadas went extinct in recent times before there was time to discover or study them.

The next brood to go extinct is likely Brood VII. It has contracted over the years, and will likely only survive thanks to the Onondaga Nation reservation. Read the paper THE HISTORICAL CONTRACTION OF PERIODICAL CICADA BROOD VII (HEMIPTERA: CICADIDAE: MAGICICADA). by JOHN R. COOLEY, DAVID C. MARSHALL AND CHRIS SIMON. (J. New York Entomol. Soc. 112(2–3):198–204, 2004.) for more information.

What can you do about it?

  1. Educate yourself about invasive species. Learn about the invasives currently impacting our local area. Discover how you can prevent their further spread, and prevent the introduction of new invasive species.
  2. Don’t participate in the destruction of cicada habitat. Stack vertically, not horizontally. Repair what you already have, reuse, recycle and buy an old home. Get your books from a library. Be fruitful & multiply — but don’t destroy more forests in the process.
  3. Plant a tree.
  4. Be a citizen scientist and get involved in projects to map cicadas and other insects, so we can truly count their numbers and measure their declines or gains. Folks can report Magicicada, when they emerge, to iNaturalist is an amazing website to idenitify and report insects in general.

I’ll likely expand and edit this article over time as I get more information on this topic. Feel free to pass only any information via the comments section of the article.

List of articles about insect declines

Platypleura hampsoni (Distant, 1887)

Platypleura hampsoni is a cicada found in India.

Platypleura hampsoni

Image and Description from A Monograph of Oriental Cicadas by W. L. Distant. 1889-1892. Read it on the Biodiversity Heritage Library website:

Male. Head luteous; front with a number of black linear markings; vertex with a transverse, narrow, black fascia between the eyes, and with a central black spot containing the ocelli. Pronotum greenish-ochraceous, the disk with the following black markings: — a central I-shaped spot, on each side of which are some oblique linear markings; the lateral dilated margins are black, and the anterior margin is narrow — and the posterior margin broadly— dull reddish ochraceous. Mesonotum greenish-ochraceous, with the following black spots: — four obconical from anterior margin, of which the central two are smallest; and a large, oblong, discal spot, with a small partly rounded spot on each side of it; the basal cruciform elevation dull reddish ochraceous. Abdomen above black. Head beneath, with the face black, marked with luteous transverse lines; sternum somewhat ochraceously pilose; abdomen beneath black, the segmental margins ochraceous, the anal appendage of the same color; legs castaneous, streaked or spotted with piceous and luteous. Rostrum black, the basal portion luteous.

Tegmina pale hyaline, with the venation brown, the costal membrane greenish, the basal third somewhat opaque, with darker transverse markings and small basal black markings; a double irregular series of dark brown spots cross the tegmina at about center, a dark brown fascia at bases of upper apical areas, a few small subapical spots and some small marginal spots of the same color. Wings brownish-ochraceous, paler at apex than at base and very pale across the center, with a white marginal spot near anal angle; the venation brown.

The rostrum reaches the basal abdominal segment; the lateral margins of the pronotum are distinctly angulated; the face is robustly gibbous, with a profound central longitudinal sulcation; the posterior tibijE have three distinct spines on each side of apical half.

Long. excl. tegm. 2 . 23 millim. Exp. tegm. 70 millim. ; exp. pronot. angl. 13 millim.

Hab. — Continental India : Neelgiri Hills, northern slopes, 3500 & 5000 feet (Hampson — coll. Dist.).

Scientific classification:
Family: Cicadidae
SubFamily: Cicadinae
Tribe: Platypleurini
Genus: Platypleura
Species: Platypleura hampsoni (Distant, 1887)

For more information about this cicada, visit Cicadas of India.

March 22, 2019

Platylomia radah (Distant, 1881)

Platylomia radah is a cicada found in Burma, China, India, Nepal, and Thailand.

Photo by Michel Chantraine:
Platylomia radah

Scientific classification:
Family: Cicadidae
SubFamily: Cicadinae
Tribe: Dundubiini
SubTribe: Dundubiina
Genus: Platylomia
Species: Platylomia radah (Distant, 1881)

For more information about this cicada, visit Cicadas of India.

March 21, 2019

Platypleura mira Distant, 1904

Platypleura mira is a cicada found in Cambodia, Laos, Malasia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Photo by Michel Chantraine:
Platypleura mira

Scientific classification:
Family: Cicadidae
SubFamily: Cicadinae
Tribe: Platypleurini
Genus: Platypleura
Species: Platypleura mira Distant, 1904

March 20, 2019

Orientopsaltria beaudouini Boulard, 2003

Orientopsaltria beaudouini is a cicada found in Malasia and Thailand.

Photo by Michel Chantraine:
Orientopsaltria beaudouini Boulard, 2003

Scientific classification:
Family: Cicadidae
SubFamily: Cicadinae
Tribe: Dundubiini
SubTribe: Orientopsaltriina
Genus: Orientopsaltria
Species: Orientopsaltria beaudouini Boulard, 2003

March 19, 2019

Trengganua sibylla (Stål, 1863)

Filed under: Asia (Continent),Malaysia,Thailand,Tosenini — Dan @ 6:48 am

Trengganua sibylla (Stål, 1863) is a cicada found in south-east Asia, specifically peninsular Malaysia and Thailand.

When found in the wild & alive its wings are green and black, but the green turns yellow after death.

Trengganua sibylla (Stål, 1863)

Here’s a video of a living T. sibylla.

Scientific classification:
Family: Cicadidae
SubFamily: Cicadinae
Tribe: Tosenini
Genus: Trengganua
Species: Trengganua sibylla (Stål, 1863)

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