The names of cicadas change a lot. I don’t question the name changes, but it does take a fair amount of time to update 100s-1000s of pages on this site whenever a genus or species name changes, or when a species is split into multiple species, or a genus is split into multiple genera. There are likely places on this site where the names are a generation or two behind.
Here’s a guide to changes from the past two decades. It is far from complete, but it represents the more well-known cicadas.
Callogaena spawned from Gaeana Amyot & Audinet-Serville, 1843. Although Gaeana might still be preferred. Here is a Callogaeana festiva.
Distantalna Boulard, 2009 spawned from Tosena Amyot & Audinet-Serville, 1843. Here is a Distantalna splendida. This cicada is very common on eBay and found in a lot of arts and crafts, and is still mostly called Tosena splendida in those places.
See the image below: Distantalna clearly lacks the angular forewing stripes of Tosena. The orientation of the eyes seems very different as well.
Megapomponia Boulard, 2005 spawned from Pomponia Stål, 1866. Here is a Megapomponia imperatoria. Megapomponia are the largest cicadas so MEGA (from the Greek megas which means “great, large, mighty”) makes sense.
Neotibicen Hill & Moulds, 2015 and Hadoa Moulds 2015 spawned from Tibicen. Read: Hill, et al. 2015. Molecular phylogenetics, diversification, and systematics of Tibicen Latreille 1825 and allied cicadas of the tribe Cryptotympanini, with three new genera and emphasis on species from the USA and Canada (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha: Cicadidae), Zootaxa, Volume 3985, Issue 2, Pages 219–251.
Megatibicen Sanborn and Heath 2016 spawned from Neotibicen, which of course spawned from Tibicen. Read: Sanborn A.F., Heath, M.S. 2016. Megatibicen n. gen., a new North American cicada genus (Hemiptera: Cicadidae: Cicadinae: Cryptotympanini), Zootaxa, Volume 4168, Issue 3.
Gigatibicen Lee 2016, Ameritibicen Lee 2016, and Paratibicen Lee 2016 spawned from Neotibicen, although it seems like Megatibicen will be preferred over Gigatibicen and Ameritibicen. Lee, Y.J. 2016. Description of three new genera, Paratibicen, Gigatibicen, and Ameritibicen, of Cryptotympanini (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) and a key to their species Journal of Asia-Pacific Biodiversity, Volume 9, Issue 4, 1 December 2016, Pages 448–454.
Magicicada neotredecim Marshall and Cooley 2000 spawned from Magicicada tredecim (Walsh and Riley, 1868) in 2000 when David Marshall and John Cooley described it as its own unique species. Read: Marshall, D.C. & Cooley, J.R. (2000). Reproductive character displacement and speciation in periodical cicadas, with a description of a new species, 13-year Magicicada neotre- decim. — Evolution 54, p. 1313-1325.
Neotibicen tibicen australis (Davis, 1912) was once Tibicen tibicen australis (Davis, 1912) when Neotibicen (genus) spawned from Tibicen in 2015. Prior to the change, this cicada was Tibicen chloromerus var. australis. Read: Tibicen tibicen australis Sanborn, Phillips and Gillis 2008: 4–5, 12, 31, 39, Fig 73, Figs 139–147 (key, synonymy, illustrated, distribution, comp. note) Equals Rihana sayi var. australis Florida, Georgia
Neotibicen tibicen tibicen (Linnaeus, 1758) was called Tibicen chloromera, but then Allen Sanborn (I think) switched it to Tibicen chloromerus (a to an us for correct gender grammar of the species name) in the late 1990s. Then around 2008 Sanborn switched it to Tibicen tibicen because the original name dating back to 1758 was Cicada tibicen.
Megatibicen pronotalis pronotalis Davis, 1938 and Megatibicen pronotalis walkeri Metcalf, 1955 have had a number of changes. Aside from two to three recent changes genus changes, species names have changed as well. Megatibicen pronotalis pronotalis has been called Tibicen walkeri var. pronotalis, Tibicen marginalis var. pronotalis, Tibicen pronotalis walkeri and Tibicen walkeri pronotalis. Megatibicen pronotalis walkeri has been called Tibicen marginalis, Tibicen walkeri, and even Lyristes marginalis. Yikes!
That’s a lot of changes. I used Allan Sanborn’s book Catalogue of the Cicadoidea to verify much of this information. It’s a huge book. No photos, mostly cicada names. :)
Editorial: I know a lot of folks are bemused and vexed by these name changes, and many still use the old names. Certainly Tibicen chloromera, regardless of its taxonomic faults, sounds better than Neotibicen tibicen tibicen. Of the changes described above, my favorites (can you have favorites in science?) are Magicicada neotredecim Marshall and Cooley 2000 which is definitely a different insect than Magicicada tredecim (Walsh and Riley, 1868); and Distantalna Boulard, 2009 because Distantalna splendida looks very different than cicadas belonging to the genus Tosena, IMHO.
A new species of Megatibicen, named Megatibicen harenosus sp. n., has been described by Jeffrey A. Cole. It lives in the Mescalero-Monahans shinnery sands areas of New Mexico and Texas. It is very similar to Megatibicen (Neotibicen, Tibicen) tremulus, which itself looks a lot like dorsatus and dealbatus.
Megatibicen harenosus sp. n. is described from the Mescalero-Monahans shinnery sands of New Mexico and Texas, U.S.A. The new species is diagnosed from similar species, especially M. tremulus which it resembles closely, by male genital morphology, color pattern, calling song, and ecology. Seven characters from the male calling song are described from analysis of field recordings, of which all four temporal song characters are significantly different from M. tremulus. With one of the most southwestern distribution of any Megatibicen species, M. harenosus is a new addition to the rich, endemic, and understudied Mescalero-Monahans shinnery sands biota. The possibility that M. harenosus and M. tremulus are sister species is raised. The ecological, biological, and evolutionary species concepts support species status for M. harenosus, and an hypothesis of peripatric speciation in peripheral isolation is advanced.
There is a sample of this cicada’s song on the Insect Singers website. Check it out.
I’ve known Les Daniels for about 20 years now, because of our mutual appreciation of cicadas. Les contributed many photos to Cicada Mania during its early years. You can still see them here. Les is an Ohio resident, and Ohio is a great state for cicada watching with at least 6 broods of periodical cicadas and over a dozen annual species as well.
You can buy the book on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
Brood VI (6) 17-year cicadas (“locusts”) will emerge in the spring of 2017. The main group will emerge in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia. Other lesser groups should emerge in Ohio & Wisconsin. And possibly other states/locations as well.
When: Generally speaking, these cicadas will begin to emerge when the soil 8″ beneath the ground reaches 64 degrees Fahrenheit3. A nice, warm rain will often trigger a emergence. So, definitely May, but something might happen in April if we have a particularly hot spring.
1889 document: Dade (Trenton), Elbert (Elberton), Floyd (Rome), Habersham (Turnerville), Hill (Virgil), Paulding (Brownsville), Rabun, Spalding (Experiment), White (Tesnatee). 7
Best bet: Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Henderson, McDowell, Polk, Wilkes6.
1889 document: Alexander (Mount Pisgah, Taylorsville), Bladen, Buncombe (Asheville), Burke (Morgantown), Cabarrus, Caldwell (Lenoir, Hickory), Catawba (Claremont, Maiden), Henderson (Westfeldt Park, Horse Shoe), Iredell, Lincoln (Denver, Lincolnton), Macon (Franklin), McDowell (Greenlee), Moore, Montgomery, Pender (Long Creek), Polk (Columbus, Saluda, Mill Spring), Rabun (Highlands), Randolph, Rutherford, Swain (Whittier), Transylvania, Union (Waxhaw), Washington, Wilkes (Moravian Falls, Wilkesboro).7
Best bet: Oconee, Pickens6.
1889 document: Oconee (Stumphouse Mountain which is near Westminster).7
Wisconsin seems like a sure thing as well.
Best bet: Columbia, Dane, Rock, Sauk (Baraboo)5
1889 document (aside from those mentioned above: Burnett (Spooner), Columbia (Madison), Crawford (Towerville), Dane (Janesville), Fond du Lac (Ripon), Green Lake (Dartford), Marquette (Harrisville), Sauk (Baraboo), Sawyer (Hayward), Washburn (Shell Lake), Waushara (Auroraville). 7
Best bet: Hamilton (Hyde Park, Delhi, Finneytown, Green Township, Anderson). 5
Here’s some more stuff to get you excited about the emergence:
Watch a cicada emerge from its skin:
A whole lot of cicada nymphs:
Other than GA, NC, SC, WI, OH:
What about Delaware, D.C., Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia?
The most interesting aspect of Brood VI for cicada researchers is its widespread distribution according to literature from the past. Take a look at the Brood VI map on Magicicada.org to see what I mean. See all those blue triangles? Those represent locations from the 1923 version of C.L. Marlatt’s The Periodical Cicada (United States Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Entomology Bulletin 71). Notice that they’re all over the United States, east of the Mississippi, and not just concentrated in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, like the recent, verified sightings which are marked with Gold & Brown symbols.
The question is: was C.L. Marlatt mistaken? Is Brood VI really as widespread as his bulletin suggests, or do these sightings represent:
Members of Brood XIX that just happened to emerge the same year as Brood VI.
A combination of two or more of these.
Or… perhaps they are (or were) totally legitimate, actual populations of Brood VI.
If you look at the data from the Cicada Central Magicicada Database and compare the County/State locations where the Literature says Brood VI is, with other broods that emerge in these County/State locations, you’ll find an argument for the possibilities mentioned above.
Brood X really stands out.
Stragglers from other 17-year Broods:
Quoting David Marshall’s paper Periodical Cicada (Homoptera: Cicadidae) Life-Cycle Variations, the Historical Emergence Record, and the Geographic Stability of Brood Distributions: “Many of the questionable brood VI records fall within the ranges of 17-yr broods II, V, and – separated from brood VI by 1 or 4 yr.”4
It’s very likely that Brood X stragglers, arriving a very-probable four years early, might be mistaken for Brood VI. About 41% of the Brood VI records overlap with Brood X. Reports of Brood X stragglers, year after year, could add up to significant numbers, and appear to be populations of Brood VI.
Not as likely, but still possible are Brood V stragglers emerging a year late. That would account for about 20% of the overlaps.
Probability of Magicicada straggling in order most likely first: 1) 4 years early, 2) 4 years late, 3) 1 year early, 4) 1 year late. Read more about stragglers.
Co-Emergence with Brood XIX
Brood XIX cicadas have a 13-year life cycle, and Brood XIX and VI will emerge in the same year every 221 years 13 x 17 = 221).
About 9% of the Brood VI records show an overlap with Brood XIX. The last co-emergence of these broods happened in 1881. There’s a good chance in that in 1898 Brood XIX +4 year stragglers emerged along with Brood VI too.
Legitimate groups of Brood VI not in GA, NC or SC
About 20% of the Brood VI records share no overlap with other Broods (at least according to the database). These are the interesting ones (to me at least). These seem to be the most likely candidates for something unique, and not a straggler or descendant of another Brood. There seem to be about seven counties in Wisconsin that share no overlap with another Brood. Notice on the Magicicada.org Brood VI page this: “Isolated populations in WI were not confirmed in 2000, but the search was not exhaustive.” Hmmm… I have to ask.
It is possible that groups of Brood VI existed during Marlatt’s time, but they have gone extinct since the 1920s. We lost Brood XI in 1954 — extinction is highly possible.
The Jim Thorp Pennsyvalnia periodical cicadas that emerged in-sync with Brood V in 2016 are an example of a group of periodical cicadas that share the same cycle as a major brood, but differ in location, and probably lineage. There might be a few examples like this as well.
It is certain that there are populations in Wisconsin and Ohio5, so I have added those states at the top of this article. The University of Wisconsin–Madison has specimens from Wisconsin in their collection, and I’m pretty sure Gene Kritsky has specimens from the Ohio emergences.
Gene Kritsky’s must-own book Periodical Cicadas the Plague and the Puzzle (2004, Indiana Academy of Science, page 97) notes that in 2000 there were several large emergences of periodical cicadas outside of GA, NC & SC. They emerged in Maryland, Virginia, Washington D.C., Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. Note that Brood X also emerges in these areas. Has part of Brood X been accelerating to fall into the same cycle as Brood VI? Maybe.
As I understand it, there may be populations in eastern Oklahoma that might exist, but no one has checked yet (or documented it). Researchers hope to check this year.5
Brood X stragglers in 2017
Last, it is important to mention that there will be plenty of legitimate Brood X stragglers emerging next year (Brood X map). These might get confused with Brood VI.
Just in case, here’s all the States/Counties mentioned by Marlatt’s documents other than GA, NC, SC, OH, WI.7
After reading the old documents, I’ve bolded the “best bets” — the ones that were more than “a few”.
District of Columbia: Several localities.
Illinois:Dewitt [Hallsville, Wapella “millions”], Douglas, Knox, McLean, Montgomery, Scott, Shelby [Strasburg “plentiful is eastern part of county”], Vermilion.
Indiana: Boone, Brown, Carroll, Grant, Johnson, Laporte [Boiling Prairie “several in the timber”], Wells.
Maryland: Carroll, Cecil, Montgomery, Prince George, Washington.
Virginia: Charlotte, Chesterfield, Fairfax, Powhatan, Prince Edward.
West Virginia: Berkeley, Hampshire, Jefferson, Mineral, Preston, Webster.
1 Teiji Sota, Satoshi Yamamoto, John R. Cooley, Kathy B.R. Hill, Chris Simon, and Jin Yoshimu. Independent divergence of 13- and 17-y life cycles among three lineages of periodical cicada lineages. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.
2 Gene Kritsky Periodical Cicadas the Plague and the Puzzle (2004, Indiana Academy of Science, page 97)
3 James Edward Heath, Thermal Synchronization of Emergence in Periodical “17-year” Cicadas (Homoptera, Cicadidae, Magicicada) American Midland Naturalist, Vol. 80, No. 2. (Oct., 1968), pp. 440-448.
4 David C Marshall Periodical Cicada (Homoptera: Cicadidae) Life-Cycle Variations, the Historical Emergence Record, and the Geographic Stability of Brood Distributions. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 94(3): 386Ð399 (2001). Link to website where you can get this document.
5 Information from John Cooley of Magicicada.org, Gene Kritsky, & Roy Troutman, relayed by email.