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October 21, 2017

An old news story about Prizes for Locusts or Cicadas

Filed under: Folklore — Dan @ 4:37 pm

Once again I was grinding through the Library of Congress website, and I came across another Cicada story. This story, from the July 21, 1921 edition of the Okolona (Mississippi) Messenger, is a request from the entomologist of the “Agricultural, College, Mississippi” (Agricultural College in Mississippi) for cicadas. Send cicadas to the college and get a prize. Sounds awesome.

The terms cicadas and locusts seem to be used interchangeably, which is common for these old newspaper articles. If you read “locusts” they mean cicadas, in this article at least.

Note that this is from 1921. Don’t send them cicadas today.

Prizes for Locusts or Cicadas

To receive the prizes offer the cicadas or locust must be collected in Mississippi during 1921. They must be mailed to the Entomologist, Agricultural, College, Mississippi, with the name and address of the collector written on the package and a letter must state where and when the locusts were collected. Always give the county.

Prizes for each county 1. For the cicadas from each country in Mississippi 20 cents each for the first ten specimens; 10 cents each for the next 20 specimens; and 5 cents each for the next 40 specimens. We will try to award these prizes promptly upon receipt of the cicadas each day during the summer.

State Prizes; 2. For the largest number of cicadas send in by any one person during the year 1921 $5.00; for the second largest number $3.00; and for the third largest number $2.00. The locusts or cicada should be mailed in as soon as possible after they are collected. Careful record will be kept of all specimens and these prizes will be awarded next fall.

Special Prizes: 3. For a cicada that proves to be a new species, that is not previously know to entomologist, $5.00 for the first specimen; $3.00 for the second and $1.00 each for the next five specimens.

4. For any species of cicada not previously recorded from Mississippi $3.00 for the first specimen; $2.00 for the second, and $1.00 each for the next five specimens.

5. For specimens of the rare small green cicada Okanagana Niridis, $1.00 each for the first ten specimens. The species will most likely be collected in Bolivar, Sunflower, Washington and other Delta Counties during June and July, but may possibly be collected in the other sections of the state during other months.

Okanagana Niridis is actually Okanagana viridis. The meaning of viridis is the color green. Here is a photo.

6. For specimens of Tibicen Linnei $1.00 each for the first ten specimens. This species will most likely be collected in the northern part of the state.

Tibicen Linnei is now known as Neotibicen linnei.

7. For any Periodical Cicada, or 1-year locust collected in Mississippi during 1921, $1.00 each for the first ten specimens. Brood No. 20 of the Periodical Cicada that occurs during May and June of 1921 had been recorded from Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia, but has never in the past been reported from Mississippi.

This paragraph is the most interesting. They probably mean 1-year stragglers from Brood XIX. (First, I think they mean 13-year or 17-year cicada, not 1-year locust. A 13-Year cicada collected in 1921 would belong to Brood XX (20), which doesn’t exist, and I don’t think it did at the time (I’ll check, may have gone extinct). A 17-year cicada that emerged in 1921 would belong to Brood XII (12) which also does/did not exist. There aren’t any stragglers (4 year) that line up as well. There are four broods that emerge in GA, NC & VA: II which would have emerged in 1928; X which would have emerged in 1919; XIV which would have emerged in 1923; and XIX which would have emerged in 1920 and definitely is also in Mississippi.)

Here’s a chunk of the article:

Prizes

Cicada soap and snacks

Filed under: Eating Cicadas,Folklore — Dan @ 8:54 am

I came across an article from 1876 in the Bossier Banner titled Edible Insects (The Bossier Banner., June 22, 1876. (Bellevue, Bossier Parish, La.)). The article covers many types of insects, but has at least five paragraphs devoted to cicadas. The article uses the term “locust” interchangeably with cicada, and the author does seem to know the difference (see last paragraph).

The most interesting bit of information is that people might have used cicadas to make soap and cakes.

I believe, in this paragraph, locust may refer to the grasshopper locust, but it could be cicadas as well:

Among the folk-lore of the Khoikhoi you may find this legend: “Faraway in the North-land dwells the great master-conjurer, who, when he wishes to confer a benefit on his people, rolls away a stone from the mouth of a certain deep pit and from it issues a host of winged messengers who soar away to the southward and there surrender themselves as a food to the hungry Africans.” These messengers are the famous locusts of which it is recorded that John the Baptist ate, and which are to-day sold by the cart-load in the cities of Morocco.

The “locust” in this paragraph is very likely cicadas, because of the use of the words “harmless” and “celebrated for its song”:

With how much affection the Romans spoke of the locust! “A little, harmless creature,” says one historian, “celebrated for its song from most ancient times.”

No reference to “locust” was made — definitely cicadas:

The same song was so dear to the Greeks, “because it seemed to give life to the solitude of our shady groves and academic walks, and conveys to our minds the idea of a perfectly happy being,” that they kept the insect in cages, and gave it pet names, as, “The Nightingale of the Nymphs,” “Sweet Prophet of Summer,” “The Love of the Muses.” Then, after all this lavishing of affection, they are it!

Could be either cicadas or grasshopper locusts:

Aristotle, with the smack of the lips, says of the female locusts, caught before the depositing of their eggs, and fried in sweet oil: “Quo tempore gustu suavissimo sunt”— “at which time they are very sweet.”

Sounds like it could be either:

Another naturalist says when the cicadae first leaves the earth they are plump and oily, and used in the making soap. Bread is also made of them, and in Africa a kind of sweet cake. This is probably what Shakespeare refers to when Iago, plotting against the Moor, says, in his wrath: “The food that to him now is as luscious as locusts shall be to him shortly as bitter as coloquintida” — the bitter apple of Crete.

This paragraph makes me think the author knows the difference between cicadas and grasshoppers:

These little, dew-sucking locusts are not to be confused with the strong-jawed grasshoppers, the Heupferde, or “hay-horses,” as Germans call them, and as Martin Luther translated the word from the Hebrew text, for, though used as food, it is the grasshopper that commits such depredations on the foliage.

Read/see the article on the Library of Congress website.

October 8, 2017

Cicada Fungi Research

Filed under: Massospora cicadina — Dan @ 5:37 pm

Magicicada septendecim with Massosporan fungus found at the Edison Memorial Tower Park in Edison NJ
A “Salt-Shaker of Death”. (Deadly for the cicada, not humans.)

Many types of fungi will eat cicadas, but one type — the Massospora — specifically infests and destroys cicada genitalia. Specifically, Massospora cicadina attacks Magicicada cicadas, and Massospora levispora attacks Okanagana rimosa. According to the website MycoBank Database, there’s at least 19 species of Massospora. By the names of some, you can guess which cicada it infects; Massospora diceroproctae likely infects Diceroprocta cicadas.

It’s not certain, but there are sure to be many more species of Massospora fungi — if not one for each species, perhaps approximately one for each genus. Considering that Massospora infects cicadas all around the world, it’s fair to assume that Massospora have been infecting cicadas for many millions of years.

At West Virginia University, Matt Kasson & his team are studying Massospora, and are looking for samples of cicadas with these infections. Matt regularly Tweets photos and finding such as this one of spores from a Platypedia cicada:

You you have some samples of such cicadas, and are willing to part with them, let Matt know.

October 3, 2017

Brood VII, the Onondaga Brood, Will Emerge in New York State in 2018

Filed under: Brood VIII,Magicicada,Periodical — Dan @ 8:13 pm

Periodical cicadas (Magicicada septendecim, people call them “locusts”) will emerge in the Finger Lakes area of New York state in 2018.

This group of cicadas is called Brood VII (7), and is known as the the Onondaga Brood.

Here’s an old map of the brood from entomologist C. L. Marlatt:
Brood VII map
A more up to date map and more comprehensive information can be found on Magicicada.org.

A pair of Magicicada septendecim:
A pair of mating Magicicada septendecims found in Woodbridge Township NJ

More details:

  • What: Brood VII is the smallest periodical cicada brood in the U.S., and is isolated in the Finger Lakes area of New York State. Only one species of cicada belongs to the brood: Magicicada septendecim (click link for sounds, video). This cicada has a 17-year life cycle. Sadly, Brood VII will likely be the next Brood to go extinct.
  • When: May or June. Magicicada cicadas typically emerge in the spring, once the soil underground where they live reaches approximately 64 degrees Faraihneght.
  • Where: the Finger Lakes area of NY State. The following counties have had these cicadas in the past: Cayuga, Livingston, Monroe, Onondaga, Ontario, Seneca, Steuben, Wyoming, York.

Special note:

There’s a strong possibility that Brood XXII stragglers will also emerge in parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, southern Ohio & northern Kentucky. So, if you come across periodical cicadas in those areas, they’re Brood XXII, not VII.

Further reading / viewing / listening:

Australian Cicada Names 🇦🇺

Filed under: Australia,David Emery,L. W. Popple,Nathan Emery — Tags: — Dan @ 1:01 am

It’s that time again: time for cicadas in Australia (2017-2018)!

Are you in the Sydney area? Report cicada signtings to The Great Cicada Blitz (Sydney, AUS).

I’ll list reports of cicadas as I see them on social media:

Australia has the best cicada names:

Cyclochila australasiae

Green Grocer

Green Grocer (Cyclochila australasiae)
Photo by Bron.

Green Grocer

rare green yellow Green Grocer
Photo by Kevin Lee. Yellow-Green Green Grocer with Mask.

Yellow Monday

Tom Katzoulopolopoulous (Cyclochila australasiae)
Photo by Tom Katzoulopolopoulous.


Blue Moon

Blue Moon (Cyclochila australasiae)
Photo by David Emery.

Masked Devil

Masked Devil cicada (Cyclochila australasiae)
Photo by David Emery.


Cherrynose or Whiskey Drinker (Macrotristria angularis)

Cherry Nose cicada (Macrotristria angularis)
Photo by David Emery.

Bagpipe Cicada (Lembeja paradoxa)

Lembeja paradoxa
Photo by David Emery.

Floury Baker (Abricta curvicosta)

Michelle Thompson's Floury Baker (Abricta curvicosta)
Photo by Michelle Thompson.

Golden Emperor (Anapsaltoda pulchra)

Anapsaltoda pulchra (Golden Emperor) from Herberton (Queensland) by David Emery.
Photo by David Emery.

Double Drummer (Thopha saccata)

Double Drummer (Thopha saccata)
Photo by Kevin Lee.

Orange Drummer (Thopha colorata)

Orange Drummer (Thopha colorata)
Photo by Jodi.

White Drummer (Arunta perulata)

White Drummer cicada (Arunta perulata)
Photo by David Emery.

Bladder Cicada (Cystosoma saundersii)

Cystosoma saundersii (bladder cicada)
Photo by David Emery.

Redeye cicada (Psaltoda moerens)

Redeye cicada (Psaltoda moerens)
Photo by David Emery.

Click images for larger versions.

More interesting names:

Use this amazing image by David Emery to identify some of the most well-known Australian cicada species:

Aussie cicadas 1 (3)

People and Resources:

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