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November 19, 2014

Magicicada cassini calls, chorusing & responses to finger snaps

Filed under: Brood II,Magicicada,Periodical,Sounds,Video — Tags: — Dan @ 8:00 am

During the Brood II emergence in 2013, Elias Bonaros, Roy Troutman and I spent some time experimenting with coercing male Magicicada to call in response to finger snaps, which mimic the snap of a female cicada’s wings. This trick works fairly well with Magicicada, and can quickly be mastered once you work out the timing. Fingers, wall switches, and the zoom button on my Sony video camera do a good job at mimicking the snap of a females wings.

Magicicada cassini responding to fingersnaps

Magicicada cassini responding to fingersnaps.

I also recorded their calls in terms of decibels to see just how loud they could get. They can get very loud, but not as loud as a rock concert (see this db chart).

Magicicada cassini calling at 109db in Colonia NJ

Magicicada cassini calling at 109db in Colonia NJ.

Magicicada cassini chorusing center peaking at 85db

Magicicada cassini chorusing center peaking at 85db.

Video of Magicicada septendecula from Brood II

Filed under: Brood II,Magicicada,Ovipositing,Periodical,Video — Tags: — Dan @ 7:45 am

Here are two videos of Magicicada septendecula from Brood II.

Female Magicicada septendecula

Magicicada septendecula.

A female Magicicada septendecula ovipositing

A female Magicicada septendecula ovipositing.

December 22, 2013

M. cassini in Connecticut

Filed under: Brood II,Magicicada,Periodical — Tags: — Dan @ 5:53 pm

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.

October 11, 2013

A look back at the 2013 Brood II Periodical Cicada Emergence

Filed under: Brood II,Magicicada,Periodical,Video — Dan @ 10:03 pm

2013 has been an awesome year for cicadas. Here’s a look back at my favorite Brood II moments.

  1. My 17 Year Cicada sneakers: nikeid
  2. The They’re Baaack! Return of the 17-year Cicadas exhibit at The Staten Island Museum.
  3. Meeting Ed Johnson of the Staten Island Museum.
  4. This cicada pillow by Tegan White, that my friends Judie and Cliff gave me.
  5. Being interviewed by and appearing in Wired Magazine.
  6. My Cicada Mania pins and magnets that I hand out to people I meet in person.
  7. This April Fools Day joke (that no one believed).
  8. Hipster Cicada
    hipster cicada
  9. Cicada Ron Swanson
    Cicada Ron Swanson
  10. Keep Calm, They’re only 17 Year Cicadas
    Keep Calm
  11. Getting 7,500 visits from Reddit in a single day (April 7th).
  12. Finding the first nymph on April 16th under a garden slate, not ready to emerge.
  13. Finding the first cicada chimneys on May 10th.
  14. 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.
  15. Finding and photographing Magicicada septendecula, thanks to Elias Bonaro’s keen hearing.
  16. My sister’s chihuahua discovering a cicada nymph.
    chihuahua cicada
  17. Cicada tracking in New York state.
  18. An interview with Sonja Beeker of the German radio program Neonlicht.
  19. 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!
  20. Shooting lots of cicada video for the site
  21. Observing the Magicicada cassini’s “musical chairs” calling and flying routine, captured in this photo by Roy Troutman.
  22. Having Roy and Michelle Troutman visit New Jersey (I think Michelle enjoyed the beach more than the cicadas).
  23. Going cicada hunting with Roy Troutman and Elias Bonaros.
    Roy Troutman and Elias Bonaros near cicada mosiac in subway
  24. 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.
    John Cooley and Ed Johnson speaking at the Staten Island Museum Six Legged Sex event by Roy Troutman
  25. Going cicada hunting in Staten Island with Elias and Chris Simon.
  26. 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.
  27. Fighting back against companies that sell pesticide to kill cicadas.
  28. Discovering that the periodical cicadas along the shore of Staten Island survived Superstorm Sandy.
  29. Meeting cicada filmmaker Sam Orr.
  30. All the reports, comments, Tweets, and cicada photos sent to us by Cicada Mania readers. You make it all worthwhile.
  31. The Finneytown, Ohio acceleration… technically not Brood II, but…
  32. 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.

17 year cicadas y u no?

June 29, 2013

Where’s the cicadas?

Filed under: Brood II,Magicicada,Periodical — Dan @ 12:57 am

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:

Pony tail on New Jersey

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).

map example

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.

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