A news story came out in November reporting that M. cassini appeared in areas of Connecticut where they were not expected during the Brood II emergence this year. This must have been a 2013 highlight for cicada researchers in the Connecticut area.
December 22, 2013
October 11, 2013
2013 has been an awesome year for cicadas. Here’s a look back at my favorite Brood II moments.
- My 17 Year Cicada sneakers:
- The They’re Baaack! Return of the 17-year Cicadas exhibit at The Staten Island Museum.
- Meeting Ed Johnson of the Staten Island Museum.
- This cicada pillow by Tegan White, that my friends Judie and Cliff gave me.
- Being interviewed by and appearing in Wired Magazine.
- My Cicada Mania pins and magnets that I hand out to people I meet in person.
- This April Fools Day joke (that no one believed).
- Hipster Cicada
- Cicada Ron Swanson
- Keep Calm, They’re only 17 Year Cicadas
- Getting 7,500 visits from Reddit in a single day (April 7th).
- Finding the first nymph on April 16th under a garden slate, not ready to emerge.
- Finding the first cicada chimneys on May 10th.
- Giving a presentation about cicadas at musician/naturalist/philosopher/professor David Rothenberg’s “Richard Robinson: Song of the Cicada (World Premiere), Insect Music, based on the calls, chirps and clicks of various insects” event in New York City.
- Finding and photographing Magicicada septendecula, thanks to Elias Bonaro’s keen hearing.
- My sister’s chihuahua discovering a cicada nymph.
- Cicada tracking in New York state.
- An interview with Sonja Beeker of the German radio program Neonlicht.
- The Oklahoma Brood II emergence. A lot of us didn’t expect it, but Oklahoma residents did. Add another state to the Brood II map!
- Shooting lots of cicada video for the site
- Observing the Magicicada cassini’s “musical chairs” calling and flying routine, captured in this photo by Roy Troutman.
- Having Roy and Michelle Troutman visit New Jersey (I think Michelle enjoyed the beach more than the cicadas).
- Going cicada hunting with Roy Troutman and Elias Bonaros.
- The Joy of Six Legged Sex event at the Staten Island Museum, featuring John Cooley and Ed Johnson. Roy, Michelle, Elias and David Rothenberg were also in attendance.
- Going cicada hunting in Staten Island with Elias and Chris Simon.
- Going cicada hunting with John Cooley, David Rothenberg, and a crew from the New York Times, and ending up at my folk’s place in Metuchen.
- Fighting back against companies that sell pesticide to kill cicadas.
- Discovering that the periodical cicadas along the shore of Staten Island survived Superstorm Sandy.
- Meeting cicada filmmaker Sam Orr.
- All the reports, comments, Tweets, and cicada photos sent to us by Cicada Mania readers. You make it all worthwhile.
- The Finneytown, Ohio acceleration… technically not Brood II, but…
- All the cool cicada citizen science opportunities presented by magicicada.org, the Simon Lab, the Urban Buzz Project, Gene Kritsky and Radiolab.
I’m looking forward to the Brood III and XXII emergences next year, but I don’t know if they’ll be as fun as Brood II 2013.
June 29, 2013
At this point in the 2013 Brood II emergence, all the cicadas that will emerge, have emerged. I’m sorry to say that if periodical cicadas have not emerged in your yard/neighborhood/town, they won’t. This is frustrating for people who heard that the cicadas would emerge in their state, or those who looked at a brood map and assumed their neighborhood fell within the area shown on the map.
People in Pennsylvania, for example, heard that cicadas would arrive in their state, but unfortunately, the cicadas only occupy a small banana-shaped region in the east of the state:
If you look at one of the older maps for Brood II, it looks like the state of New Jersey is covered, however, each dot might represent only one sighing in one specific area. These old maps are useful, but they can be misleading (more on maps later in this article).
Back in 2004, after Brood X emerged, I wrote an article called: What Happened: the Magicicada No-Show of 2004. The information in that article is relevant for Brood II as well.
The truth is periodical cicadas do not occupy every square acre of a state in which they are expected to emerge. Even in towns where they do emerge, they are rarely present in every acre or block of those towns. Why? Well, either they were eliminated in the areas where they once were found (due to urban sprawl, pesticides, weather-related events, etc), or they simply were never there in the first place. New threats like extreme weather (flooding and tree destruction by tropical storms) and tree-destroying invasive species (like the emerald ash borer) will continue to shrink cicada habitat areas.
It is important, for future emergences, that the press/media and cicada websites provide more accurate information about the location of the cicadas. The cicada sighting information people provide to Magicicada.org is very important because it will lead to better maps and more accurate sighting information.
One thing I’m glad that I did this year was provide a page that listed specific towns in New Jersey where cicadas could be expected. I wish I did one for every state in the Brood II area [but Cicada Mania is not my day job, and there are only so many hours in a day].
That said, we never want to discourage people from looking for periodical cicadas in areas we don’t expect them to exist. Last year unexpected Brood I cicadas emerged in Tennessee. This year periodical cicadas unexpectedly emerged in Oklahoma. A lot of us where hoping cicadas would show up in Central Park in Manhattan, but they didn’t (however, I didn’t personally walk every acre of the park).
So, what can you do to help?
- If you’re a member of the press/media (yes that includes bloggers and tweeters), make sure you get precise locations from cicada experts.
- Report cicada and flagging sightings to Magicicada.org so we have better records of the emergence.
- Help cicada research by participating in a cicada citizen science project.
- Help preserve the current cicada habitat. Preserve trees. Avoid pesticides. Don’t wipe out another forest to add yet another redundant giant store.
A consolation for people who missed out on the 17 year cicadas: there are about 160 species of annual cicadas in North America. They’re usually harder to find and catch, but you can still hear and capture them if you put some time and effort into it.
June 28, 2013
June 28th Update
At this point if you haven’t had a periodical cicada emerge in your yard/neighborhood/town, you won’t. The best last chance to see them would be in New York State along rte 9G, parts of 9 and 9J. The more northern, the better. I visited that area last weekend, and found some great spots.
Flagging (when leaves turn brown from cicada egg laying) can be seen in New Jersey and states south of there. Probably a little bit of Connecticut and New York as well.
People are noticing sap dripping from the scars left behind from cicada egg laying.
Next up will be the hatching of the eggs.
Don’t forget to report FLAGGING (brown leaves) sightings to Magicicada.org so they can add them to their live map. You can report flagging, as well as egg nests, and newly hatched nymphs.
As usual Cicada Mania offers a full line of shirts, glassware, buttons and other souvenirs:
June 23, 2013
If you want to see and hear the Brood II cicadas, play hookey this week, and head on up the Hudson Valley in New York State. DO IT! It’s your last chance until 2030 (unless you want to see Brood III and XXII next year).
Today I took an eight hour road trip along the Hudson River in NY. I hit Palisades Interstate Park, Bear Mountain, Cold Springs, virtually every town along rte 9G and 199, Germantown, Hudson, and Woodstock.
Cold Spring and Woodstock were a little disappointing, though their downtowns seemed like nice places to visit (no time for human fun when you’re tracking cicadas). The east side of the Hudson River was definitely more active than the west side, although I did hear cicada choruses along Interstate 87 between exit 18 and 16.
Here’s my favorite locations. The first one is pure gold.
A rest stop for cars.
Rhinebeck NY 12572
Loads of ‘decims and cassini. Cassini could be picked off the low lying trees like grapes. ‘Decims hugged trees by the 100’s. Best spot of the day.
130 Main street by the river.
Germantown, NY 12526
Cassini and decim choruses. Decims and cassini on low vegetation.
400 New York 308
Rhinebeck, NY 12572
Cassini and decim choruses. Decims in low lying trees.
Dutchess Mall, ironically near a big box hardware store that will remain nameless
Cassini and ‘decim choruses. ‘Decims in low lying trees. Very active and feisty.
Tiorati Brook Rd
Stony Point, NY 10980
‘Decim choruses. ‘Decims in low lying trees.
Some video and audio from the New York emergence:
Periodical cicadas at a rest stop in Rhinebeck NY:
Magicicada septendecim in Stony Point NY:
Magicicada cassini Court II and III NY Brood II 2013:
June 17, 2013
Jean-Francois Duval of Victoriaville, Québec wrote me back on April 15th looking for advice for where and when to observe the 2013 Brood II emergence. Where is easier than when. I recommended a park in Connecticut (closest state to Victoriaville, Québec) that is known to have Brood II cicadas. When was more difficult this year because of a cold and rainy spring; cold and rain delay emergences or make them difficult to appreaciate.
I’m happy to say Jean-Francois made it to Connecticut at the right time to see the cicadas. Here is a selection of his photos.
Click each image to see a larger version:
June 15, 2013
Periodical cicadas (Magicicada) are emerging in and around the Oklahoma City area, unexpectedly!
The Facebook page for this event posted that there are Oklahoma State University records of going back to 1996, 1979, 1962, and 1928, showing a 17 year pattern. There’s also some confusion between this “micro brood” [a term I'm using because I like beer] and Brood IV, because the Oklahoma M. cassini have orange stripes like an M. septendecula, and you can only tell them apart by their DNA (and their song, of course).
Magicicada.org had a Facebook update as well.
Chris Simon says they “think that this might be an undiscovered brood that just happens to coincide with Brood II.”
Thanks to T. Wilken for posting this image. it is a male M. cassini.
I checked the document Drew, W. A., F. L. Spangler and D. Molnar. 1974. Oklahoma Cicadidae (Homoptera). Proceedings of the Oklahoma Academy of Science. Stillwater. 54: 90-7. No specific mention of Oklahoma county.
There is an Oklahoma 17 Year Cicada Early Emergence Facebook page. (They might be 13 year cicadas, BTW).
- They could be Brood IV, which are due to emerge in 2015, making this a two year acceleration that brood. This could also be Brood XIX, which last emerged in 2011, making this a two year deceleration.
- They could be an undocumented emergence of Brood II.
- But the really weird thing is, Oklahoma City is outside of the Brood IV and Brood XIX areas.
- Did some windy weather move the cicadas westward?
- Did a nursery in the Brood IV or XIX area inadvertently move them to OK City?
- Did someone play cicada egg “Johnny Appleseed”?
June 11, 2013
Here’s some cicada video I shot over the weekend. Enjoy:
This cicada is trying to drink sap from my thumb. My thumb is not a tree branch, so it failed. It didn't hurt, but I felt it. It made no hole.
Using finger snaps to fool a Magicicada septendecim into singing. They think the finger snaps are a female snapping her wings.
Brood II periodical cicada ovipositing (laying eggs).
A Magicicada septendecim cicada laying eggs in a tree branch.
Close up of the timbal of a Magicicada septendecim . No cicadas were harmed in the filming of this video because it was dead when I found it. The ribbed structure is the timbal which makes the noise.
June 8, 2013
When Roy Troutman visited New Jersey last week he took a lot of great cicada photos. Here is a sample of the best.
Click these photos to see larger versions of the photos:
This first photo is particularly interesting, because you can see the Magicicada cassini in flight between their calls:
Magicicada undergoing ecdysis:
Magicicada with exuvia:
Magicicada exuvia and corpses:
Magicicada staring at you:
View all of Roy Troutman’s 2013 Brood II photos.
Two Wednesdays ago, May 29th, my friends Roy and Michelle Troutman arrived in New Jersey. Roy has been a cicada enthusiast since he was a child growing up in Ohio. Roy has contributed many photos and videos to cicadamania.com over the years. We met in Chicago for Brood XIII in 2007, and I visited his home in Ohio for Brood XIV in 2008. This year it was my turn to return the favor for Brood II, and Roy and Michelle drove out to New Jersey.
Wednesday night we drove up to Metuchen, New Jersey to check out the emergence there. We met up with Elias Bonaros, at my Mother’s home. This location was fantastic for cicadas back in 1996, so it was worth trying again in 2013. My Mother’s yard was loaded with hundreds of cicada nymphs, teneral cicadas and adults.
Thursday, May 30th, was a beach day for Michelle, and a cicada day for Roy and I. Roy and I drove to Middlesex county to meet up with Elias. Roy and I stopped at Roosevelt Park along the way. The groves of trees near the Plays in the Park building were filled with chorusing M. septendecim. The base of one tree was absolutely covered with discarded cicada exuvia (shells).
He headed to the Thomas Edison Monument in Edison NJ. There we met Elias. At the monument, sounds of construction competed with cicada choruses, but it was easy to hear both M. septendecim and M. cassini. The burdock filled field across from the monument, was filled with teneral Magiciada.
We hit Merrill Park in Colonia next. The park had many examples of both M. cassini and M. septendecim. The highlights were the many M. septendecim with caramel colored eyes, a small pine with close to 100 teneral adults clinging to its base, and loud, synchronized M. cassini choruses.
Next we headed to a very loud M. cassini chorusing center on Guernsey Lane in Colonia. There Elias and Roy experimented with making males call and change orientation by snapping their fingers (imitating a females wing snaps). This location is where the how loud (in decibels) do periodical cicadas get video came from.
Elias used his sharp ears to locate some M. septendecula in Iselin at the corner of Wood and Willow.
We stopped by Revere Blvd in Edison, which was a hot spot 17 years ago, not much luck in 2013, but the best find was a pseudo scorpion that has hitched a ride on a cicada.
Friday, May 31st, Roy, Michelle and I drove out to Staten Island, to the Staten Island Museum. Me met Ed Johnson, and enjoyed their fantastic cicada exhibit, including the cicada timeline which features me. The Staten Island Museum has the largest collection of cicada specimens in the U.S.A., including many of the extinct Tibicen bermudiana.
We took the ferry to Manhattan for a visit to the American Museum of Natural History to see an exhibit that was using some of Roy’s cicada video. Coincidentally we exited the C line Subway that had a mosaic of a cicada.
Then it was back to the Staten Island Museum for an event called The Joy of Six Legged Sex which was about insect mating behavior, specifically cicadas. John Cooley of Magicicada.org and Ed Johnson of the Staten Island Museum spoke. David Rothenberg was also in attendance.
Saturday, June 1st, Roy and Michelle left for Ohio. Later that day I met up with John Cooley, Jin Yoshimura, David Rothenberg, the New York Times, and friends. Read about that adventure: David Rothenberg, John Cooley and the New York Times.
Sunday, June 2nd, back to Staten Island to meet Chris Simon and Elias. More about that adventure in these posts: