Here’s my entry into the popular KEEP CALM meme. “KEEP CALM they’re only 17-YEAR CICADAS”.
January 30, 2013
January 23, 2013
The emergence of Brood II is 3 to 4 months away (when they emerge depends on how warm the Spring is), but the Staten Island Museum, in Staten Island NY has already planned an event and exhibit to celebrate the emergence. According to cicada researcher Allen Sanborn, the museum largest cicada collection in North America (they have over 35,000 specimens), so it’s a good place to celebrate cicadas.
They’re Baaack! Return of the 17-year Cicadas
February 16, 2013 – Spring 2014
See numerous cicada specimens from the Museum’s extensive collection, sculpture inspired by the Cicada, new work by syndicated cartoonist Tayor Jones, a timeline of past emergences linked to historic events, a time-lapse video of emerging cicadas, a hands on video microscope, a Google map showing where cicadas are emerging, big-bug sci-fi fun, unusual Cicada ephemera and facts from around the globe, activities for kids and more.
On February 15th they’re having OPENING RECEPTION PREVIEW PARTY from 6:00pm – 9:00pm, including dinner, drinks and disco.
On February 16th they’re having a Cicada Family Day from 10:00am – 4:00pm.
And then cicada exhibits throughout the Spring.
The Staten Island Museum is located at Staten Island Museum, 75 Stuyvesant Place, SI, NY 10301, or on the web at www.statenislandmuseum.org.
January 20, 2013
It looks like there’s a new The Cicadas of Thailand book out (or coming out soon).
WL Order Code 22 645
Boulard, Michel; The Cicadas of Thailand, Vol.2. Taxonomy and Sonic Ethology
White Lotus Press
Looks like it will be for sale here.
I found an interesting document on Archive.org called Centre for Entomological Studies Ankara, Cesa News Nr. 55 (January 30, 2010) by authors Muhabbet Kemal and Ahmet Omer Kocak.
This document describes several cicadas native to the Republic of Turkey, including Tibicina serhadensis, a cicada adapted to colder, mountainous, subapline-apline regions. T. serhadensis is a hairy cicada with white wings, and orange appendages — it is quite a remarkable insect.
The document contains many full color photos.
A pretty green speckled cicada from North Sulawesi, Indonesia.
If you can identify the species, let us know.
January 19, 2013
The cicadas belonging to the tribe Gaeanini (Ambragaeana sp., Gaeana sp., and Becquartina sp.)1 are among the world’s most beautiful cicadas. These cicadas have broad, multicolored wings. Their wings beat slowly rather than vibrate quickly, allowing them to flutter like butterflies. Michel Boulard calls them “Butterfly Cicadas” 2. Watch the video of a Gaeana festiva in flight:
Behold the beautiful “Butterfly Cicadas”:
Distinguishing features: Brown fore wings with white/cream colored spots. Black hind wings with white/cream colored spots/markings.
Habitat: Southeast Asia
Distinguishing features: Black/Brown fore wings with chartreuse/yellow spots. Black and mint-green hind wings.
Habitat: Southeast Asia
Distinguishing features: Gaeana festiva come in an amazing variety of color variations. Colors include orange, yellow, white and pale green; fore and hind wings are often different colors as well. G. festiva, as Michel Boulard speculates, might be a periodical cicada, as it emerges in very large numbers 2. They might he proto-periodical as well.
Habitat: India, Southeast Asia3
Distinguishing features: Chartreuse-green fore wings. White hind wings. No spots (unlike most Gaeana).
Habitat: Malayan Archipelago3
Distinguishing features: Black wings and body with yellow spots. (Maculata means spotted.)
Habitat: India, China3
Distinguishing features: Black and yellow wings & body.
Habitat: India3, Bhutan
Distinguishing features: Dark brown fore wings with striking yellow lines forming a triangle-like shape. Dark brown and yellow hind wings.
Habitat: Southeast Asia
Distinguishing features: Dark brown fore wings with red veins and striking yellow lines, sort of in the shape of the number 7. Black hind wings with white markings.
Habitat: Southeast Asia
Note: there are
- Sanborn, Allen F., Phillips, Polly K. and Sites, Robert W. The Cicadas of Thailand (Hemiptera: Cicadidae). p 1.
- Boulard, Michel. 2007. The Cicadas of Thailand, General and Particular Characteristics, Volume 1. p 66,72, Plate 30.
- Distant, W.L. 1892. A Monograph of Oriental Cicadidae. The Order of the Trustees of the Indian Museum of Calcutta. p 104-108.
January 15, 2013
My NikeID cicada-themed sneakers arrived. Here’s what they look like:
A Tibicen by any other name would still sound as sweet…
I always wondered why Lyristes plebejus is also called Tibicen plebejus.
It seems that there is a dispute as to whether the genus Tibicen should actually be called Lyristes. A petition was made (back in the 1980s) to the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature, to change Tibicen to Lyristes. I learned this from the wonderful new book, The Cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadoidea: Cicadidae) of North America North of Mexico by Allen F. Sanborn and Maxine S. Heath (order it). I checked the ICZN website, and the petition appears to fallen off their docket of open cases. I also noticed that on European and Japanese websites, they use Lyristes.
I personally hope the genus name doesn’t change for North American species — I would have to make a lot of changes on this website. Going through the name change from Tibicen chloromera to Tibicen chloromerus to Tibicen tibcen, was bad enough.
The root of the word Tibicen is flute player, and the root of the word Lyristes is lyre — both referring to musical instruments. (Frankly I think most Tibicen sound like power tools — I don’t know Latin for Black & Decker).
BTW, this is a Lyristes plebejus (from Spain):
And this is a Lyristes flammatus (from Japan):
And some day, this might be a Lyristes auletes (from North Carolina):
January 13, 2013
The Tacua speciosa is a beautiful cicada native to Malaysia, Indonesia, Borneo, Sumatra, and other countries & islands in the Malay Archipelago. These cicadas are well know for their large size, brown nontranslucent wings, black body, striking yellow/chartreuse pronotal collar, red cruciform elevation and cyan tergites.
Image credit: Alexey Yakovlev, Tacua speciosa (Cicadidae). Borneo. Trusmadi area. 2100 m, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Here is W.L. Distant’s description of this insect from A monograph of oriental Cicadidae:
Body above black ; eyes, anterior pronotal margin (narrowly), posterior margin of pronotum, posterior margin of the third, and the whole of the fourth, fifth and sixth abdominal segments, ochraceous ; basal cruciform elevation red, with its anterior angles black ; body beneath black ; lateral areas and margins to prosternum, a spot at lateral margins of third abdominal segment, and the lateral margins of the fourth, fifth and sixth abdominal segments, ochraceous.
Tegmina black, costal membrane and venation dull reddish, outer margin narrowly creamy-white wings black, the outer margin (excluding anal area) creamy-white.
Var. a. Tegmina and wings greyish-brown, the black coloration only observable at margins of the veins.
Long.excl.tegm. 47 to 57 millim. Exp.tegm.150 to 180 millim.
T. speciosa has a black body with a chartreuse marking on the head, a chartreuse pronotal collar, a red cruciform elevation, and a pale, but vibrant, turquoise-blue abdomen.
T. speciosa is one of the largest cicadas. Wikipedia has the body length at 55 mm (2.2 in), and wingspan at 120 mm (4.7 in). I think that wingspan measurement is a little conservative (but the body length seems right on based on the image below). Considering that tip to tip wingspan would be about 3x the body length (see this image for proportions) the max wingspan would be closer to 170 mm or 6.7 in, which puts it in the same league as the Pomponia imperatoria. That is more in line with W.L. Distant’s documentation.
Here is a video of a singing Tacua speciosa:
Another video of a singing T. speciosa:
Pop culture note: this species of cicada was features on the Wednesday January 16, 2013 episode of the Daily Show. It is not, however, a 17 year cicada. :) T. speciosa probably has a 2-7 year life cycle, and is not a periodical cicada, but it might be proto-periodical (but most likely is an annual species).
The only document specifically about the T. speciosa I’ve found is Boulard, M. 1994c. Tacua speciosa, variete decolorata n. var. (Homoptera, Cicadidae). Revue Française d’Entomologie. 16: 66. — however that document usually costs around $60, which I’m not ready to invest in.
At one point in time, the Tacua speciosa was one of the most illustrated cicadas:
Check out this gallery of Tacua speciosa cicadas, which includes great images like this one:
January 5, 2013
I made this page for two reasons: 1) to point out insects and other animals that people commonly confuse with cicadas, and 2) list people, places and things named "cicada" that clearly are not cicadas.
Order Orthoptera (Grasshoppers, Crickets, Katydids)
Are cicadas locusts? No, but people call them locusts, and have since the 1600’s.
Grasshoppers, Crickets and Katydids are often confused with cicadas because they are relatively large, singing insects. There are many differences between cicadas and Orthopterans, but the easiest way to tell them apart is Orthopterans have huge hind legs.
The Songs of Insects has song samples of grasshoppers, katydids, crickets and cicadas — listen and compare.
Grasshoppers / Locusts
True locusts are
People call periodical Magicicada cicadas "locusts" because they emerge in massive numbers like true locusts. Unlike a true locusts — which will chew, eat and destroy virtually all vegetation they come across — most cicadas only cause damage to weaker tree branches when they lay their eggs. When true locusts come to town, your family might starve and die (because the locusts ate all your food). When cicadas come to town, your maple tree gets a few branches of brown leaves. Big difference.
Katydids get confused with cicadas for both the way they look and for the sounds they make. Some key differences: katydids usually have wings that look like green leaves, long antennae, and large hind legs for jumping. Most of the time you year an insect at night, it’s either a cricket or katydid.
Crickets don’t look like cicadas, but they do make sounds. Most of the time you year an insect at night, it’s either a cricket or katydid.
Sphinx Moths are confused for cicadas because, at a glance, they have a similar shape. Learn more about Sphinx moths.
Other members of the Suborder Auchenorrhyncha
Planthoppers (Infraorder Fulgoromorpha), Froghoppers (Infraorder Cicadomorpha > Superfamily Cercopoidea), and Cicadelloidea (Infraorder Cicadomorpha > Superfamily Membracoidea ) are often mistaken for cicadas (Infraorder Cicadomorpha > Superfamily Cicadoidea) because they share the same Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order and Suborder — and they look a lot a like. The big difference is cicadas sing, while other members of Auchenorrhyncha do not sing.
Photos by USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Laboratory.
NO, cicadas are not June Bugs. Many people confuse June Bug larvae for cicada larvae.
Beetle Larve Grubs
“I dug up a white grub in my back yard. Is it a cicada?”
Maybe. Just about every insect goes through a larval phase, and they pretty much all look alike to the novice. Unlike beetle larvae, cicada larvae or nymphs are not long-bodied like grubs. Long larvae = beetle larvae.
Frog calls are often mistaken for cicada song, particularly at night.
Bird calls can be mistaken for cicada song. Some birds that can mimic sounds, such as Lyrebirds, Mockingbirds, and Psittaciformes (Parrots) could conceivably mimic cicada sounds.
No one would confuse a horse with a cicada (visually and audibly speaking), but there was a famous horse named cicada.
People, Places and Things Named Cicada
These are people (in the form of Bands), places and things named cicada. They often show up in Flickr, Twitter, Ebay or Amazon, when I’m searching for cicada insects. It is awesome that people name stuff after cicadas (but it can be annoying when you’re searching for cicada insects, and other stuff shows up).
There are many bands with "cicada" in their name. These show up a lot in ebay and twitter. Here is a partial list:
There are many albums named Cicada as well, such as Cicada by Cat Scientist. That one comes up a lot in ebay.
These places show up in twitter, and when I search for cicada photos on Flickr.
- Maxwell DeMille’s Cicada Club is a vintage-style night club in Los Angeles, California.
- Cicada Market is a popular market in Hua Hin, Thailand.
- The Golden Cicada Tavern in Jersey City, NJ.
- Rancho Cicada is a ranch / retreat in Plymouth CA.
Here’s a list of other things that often show up in ebay, twitter and amazon.
- BattleTech BattleMech Cicada is a toy.
- Cicada is a company that makes dental equipment.
- Cicada Magazine is a magazine for children.
- The Cicada is a multi tool.
- PageFlip Cicada is a wireless Bluetooth pedal designed to meet the needs of musicians and people with disabilities who struggle with the challenge and inconvenience of page turning.