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July 28, 2010

Tibicen auletes aka Northern Dusk-singing Cicada

Filed under: Elias Bonaros,Tibicen — Tags: — Dan @ 9:01 pm

New Tibicen auletes photos from Elias Bonaros.

The Tibicen auletes aka Northern Dusk-singing Cicada is the largest of the Tibicen cicadas in the U.S.A.

Tibicen auletes

July 17, 2010

Cicada Alphabet: C

Filed under: Cicada Alphabet — Dan @ 6:11 am

C is for Cicada Killer Wasp. The Cicada Killer Wasp (in North America, Sphecius speciosus) is a large wasp, which captures adult cicadas, paralyzes them, places them in a burrow, and then lays an egg on them. The cicada dies as it is consumed by the developing wasp larvae. If you want to learn more about these wasps, visit Prof. Chuck Holiday’s Cicada Killer Wasp Website.

As you might guess from Elias Bonaros’ photo, Cicada Killer Wasps are less aggressive towards humans than other wasps, however we don’t not recommend approaching them, particularly, if you are a cicada.

cicada killer wasp

More (lots more):

  • Cacama valvata is a species of cicada found in the South-Western United States. Photos of a Cacama valvata.
  • The Canadian Cicada, aka Okanagana canadensis, is a species of cicada found in Canada. Visit the Songs of Insects site to hear and see a Canadian Cicada.
  • The Carineta diardi is arguably the most beautiful cicada of all. C. diardi exist in Brazil. Their black, red, green bodies and yellow tinted wings are amazing to behold. See a photo of a C. diardi.
  • A chimney (aka a turret) is a chimney-like structure that a cicada builds above the hole it will emerge from when it’s ready to become an adult. Cicada researchers look for chimneys to get an idea where cicadas will emerge.

  • Cicadetta calliope (formerly Melampsalta calliope) is a species of cicada found in the South-Eastern United States. It is rust-orange and black, and its eyes are a pretty rose color. See pictures of the Cicadetta calliope.
  • The clypeus is that bulbous structure on the cicada’s head that looks like it could be the cicada’s nose, or the grill of a 1950’s automobile. The clypeus holds the muscles the cicada uses to pump plant fluids through its needle-like beak and to its digestive system. Clypeus means shield in Latin.
  • John Cooley is one of the premier cicada researchers working today. Visit John’s site, which is dedicated to re-mapping the location of Magicicada broods.
  • The cruciform elevation is a cross-shaped structure on the dorsal posterior portion of a cicada’s thorax:

  • Cryptotympana is a genius of cicadas which exist in Asian countries like Thailand. Here’s a Cryptotympana aquila from Thailand and a Cryptotympana mandarina from Thailand.

July 15, 2010

Cicada Alphabet: B

Filed under: Cicada Alphabet — Dan @ 10:29 pm

B is for Brood. Here’s the basics:

Brood X Magicicada cicadas are American periodical cicadas that have 17 or 13 year life cycles. There are 12 groups of Magicicadas with 17 year life cycles, and 3 groups of Magicicadas with 13 year life cycles. Each of these groups emerge in a specific series of years, rarely overlapping (17 year groups co-emerge every 289 years). Each of these groups emerge in the same geographic area their parents emerged. These groups, each assigned a specific Roman numeral, are called broods.

Two examples:

Brood X (X is the Roman numeral for 10), emerges every 17 years, in DE, GA, IL, IN, KY, MD, MI, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, TN, VA, & WV. The last time Brood X emerged was in 2004, and it will emerge again in 2021.

Brood XIX (19) emerges every 13 years, in AL, AR, GA, IN, IL, KY, LA, MO, MS, NC, OK, SC, TN, VA. The last time Brood XIX emerged was 1998, and it will emerge next in 2011 (NEXT YEAR)!

When is the next Brood emerging in your area? Consult the Brood Chart.

I’ve only scraped the surface about the who, why, when, where and how of Broods. If you want to learn more I highly recommend Gene Kritsky’s book Periodical Cicadas: The Plague and the Puzzle. There are also online resources such as, which has updated brood maps, and Cicada Central.

More cicada alphabet:

  • The Bagpipe Cicada, aka Lembeja paradoxa, is an Australian cicada known for its huge, bag-like abdomen. Here is a photo of the amazing Bagpipe Cicada. You can find this cicada in North-Eastern Australia.
  • The beak or rostrum of a cicada is the structure cicadas to pierce plants and drink the plant fluids:

  • Blue Moon cicadas exist in Australia and belong to the species Cyclochila australasiae. The interesting thing about Blue Moons is that they’re blue because they lack the yellow pigment necessary to make them green. When they’re green they’re called Green Grocers. Here is a gorgeous photo of a Blue Moon.
  • Cystosoma saundersii aka Bottle Cicada is a species of Australian cicada known for its large, green abdomen. See a photo of of a C. saundersii and behold its bottle-like belly.
  • Gerry Bunker is a cicada researcher and owner of the content-rich Massachusetts Cicadas website, and the Entomology – Cicadidae Yahoo! Group.
  • The Bush Cicada aka Tibicen dorsatus (formerly Tibicen dorsata) is an annual cicada that exists primarily in the Mid-West. Here’s a few Bush Cicada photos. This cicada is aka Giant Grassland Cicada and Golden Annual Cicada. Visit the Annual Cicadas of Arkansas site for more information.

July 12, 2010

Cicada Alphabet: A

Filed under: Cicada Alphabet — Dan @ 7:47 pm

A is for antennae. Cicadae antennae are situated between their eyes and their clypeus. Insects use their antennae to smell and sense touch, temperature, and vibration.


Abricta curvicosta: The Abricta curvicosta is an Australian cicada also known as the Floury Baker (because its abdomen appears to be floury). You can find this cicada in eastern Australia. Here’s a photo of an A. curvicosta. Visit Brisbane cicadas for more photos, information and audio.

Ambragaeana ambra: The Ambragaeana ambra is a cicada that can be found in Thailand. This cicada has remarkable brown, yellow, orange and black colored wings. Here’s a photo of an Ambragaeana ambra.

Angamiana floridula: The Angamiana floridula is a cicada that can be found in Thailand. This cicada has orange, brown & cream colored wings. Here’s a photo of an Angamiana floridula.

Arunta perulata: The Arunta perulata is an Australian cicada also know as the White Drummer. This cicada can be found in eastern Australia. They’re known for their pronounced sack-like tymbal covers (the white drums?). Here’s a photo of an Arunta perulata. Visit the CSIRO website for more information and an illustration.

Ayuthia spectabile: The Ayuthia spectabile is a cicada than can be found in Thailand. This cicada’s coloration features cream, light brown, black and mint green. Here’s a photo of an Ayuthia spectabile.

To learn more about Australian cicadas, try the book Australian Cicadas by M.S. Moulds, or online at Brisbane Cicadas. To learn more about the cicadas of Thailand.

This is the start of a new feature on Cicada Mania called the Cicada Alphabet.

July 8, 2010

Hot weather means cicadas emerge sooner? Most likely.

Filed under: Neocicada,Tibicen — Dan @ 7:56 am

Temperature is a factor in when cicadas will emerge from the earth and enter the adult phase of their lives. Cicadas like warm weather (as do most insects) and so once the soil & air reaches a temperature that pleases the cicadas, they will likely emerge. There are other factors of course, but hotter weather usually means cicadas will emerge sooner than later.

The spring and summer of 2010 has been HOTTER than usual in the mid-Atlantic area of the United States, and so species of cicadas are emerging earlier than expected. Since June first, I’ve witnessed, 32 days above 80F(27C), and 11 days above 90F(32C), in New Jersey, which is warmer than usual.

Annual cicada species like the Tibicen species and Neocicada hieroglyphica have been emerging sooner than expected. has reports of Neocicada hieroglyphica, Tibicen lyricen and T. tibicen (T. chloromera) emerging sooner than expected. I’ve been hearing T. linnei in New Jersey since June.

Massachusetts Cicadas
is reporting a slow start for Tibicen. Massachusetts is a New England state, and is typically cooler than Mid-Atlantic states like New Jersey, but that might not be the only factor at work here. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

What else…

Temperature will also effect when a cicada will sing: if it’s too cold cicadas won’t sing, and if it’s too hot the poor over-heated cicadas won’t sing. This is why you won’t hear some annual cicadas singing on a cool day, or when it’s near 100F(38C). This depends on the species too; some species like it HOT, and some like it cool.

I’ve also heard that temperature can effect the frequency of a cicada’s song, however there is not a formula that allows to you determine the temperature based on the pauses in a cicada’s call like there is for crickets.

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