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May 8, 2012

Look out for Brood II, Brood V and Brood XIX Stragglers

When is a 2012 Magicicada not a Brood I cicada? When it’s a straggler.

A straggler is a periodical cicada that emerges in a year before or after the year they are supposed to emerge. Typically a straggler will emerge one or four years before, or one year after the year they should have emerged. Stragglers from Broods II (due 2013), Brood V (due 2016) and Brood XIX (backin 2011) are or will emerge this year in limited numbers.

Brood II is set to emerge next year in most of central Virginia (as well as CT, MD, NC, NJ, NY, PA), Brood V will emerge in four years in Virginia and West Virginia (as well as OH, PA), and Brood XIX emerged last year in a few areas of Virginia (as well as AL, AR, GA, IL, IN, KY, MO, MS, NC, OK, SC, TN).

Stragglers present a challenge for people tracking the Brood I emergence because Brood II, Brood V and Brood XIX stragglers will emerge in the same states as Brood I cicadas. Brood II and Brood V overlap Brood I in some places.

Here is a comparison of the I,II & V Broods. The black dots represent where the cicadas have emerged historically.

2012 periodical cicada stragglers

Here’s a map of Brood XIX in case you are curious.

Visit Magicicada.org for more information on this phenomena, and report your cicada sightings while you’re there. Credit goes to the Magicicada.org’s Facebook post that reminded me of the stragglers.

June 12, 2011

Best Cicada News of the Week: Cicada Ice Cream?!

Filed under: Brood XIX,Cicada Arts,Magicicada,Periodical — by @ 10:30 am

Brood XIX News

You can see the latest 500 cicada sightings on magicicada.org. Visit their “2011 Brood XIX sightings” map. The latest reports are from Illinois and Missouri.

The latest Science Cabaret Podcast is about cicadas, and in particular, the relationship of birds and cicadas. The podcast features Dr. Walt Koenig and is hosted by Dr. Holly.

I enjoyed this blog post Kingdom of the Cicadas. It features photos and videos of the emergence from Joplin, Missouri.

Cicada Ice Cream

There were a lot of news stories about Sparky’s Ice Cream shop in Columbia, Missouri, and their cicada ice cream. After reading dozens of articles, it seems that they only made one batch, and the local heath official(s) only advised them not to make the ice cream, but did not specifically or legally stop them from making it.

Related… cicada pie, pizza and tacos courtesy of the University of Maryland’s PDF cookbook. The cookbook is circa 2004 (Brood X) but they still work.

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June 5, 2011

Best Brood XIX Cicada News of the Week for May 29-June 4

Filed under: Brood XIX,Magicicada — by @ 8:39 am

Brood XIX emergence update

Looking at the Magicicada.org emergence map it appears that the cicadas have emerged everywhere they’re expected to emerge.

The next question is, when will they be gone? Local emergences typically last between four to six weeks, starting from the first emerging nymph, to the last dead cicada. I wouldn’t expect any cicadas around today to be around on Independence Day. Their corpses will be around though – so don’t forget to rake them up.

White Eyed Cicada Contest

The White Eyed Cicada Contest is over and 10 people won I Love Cicada pins. See all the winning entries. Congratulations to Joey Simmons of Nashville, TN, Meagan Lang of Nashville, TN, Serena Cochrane of Gerald MO, Melissa Han of Nashville TN, Jane and Evan Skinner of Troy MO, Phyllis Rice of Poplar Bluff MO, Jack Willey of Nashville TN, Chris Lowry of Nashville TN, Nathan Voss of Spring Hill TN, and Paul Stuve of Columbia, MO.

white eyed Magicicada from 2011

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May 29, 2011

Best Brood XIX Cicada News of the Week for May 22-28

Filed under: Brood XIX,Magicicada — by @ 12:33 pm

Brood XIX emergence update

Every state is accounted for except for Louisiana at this point. Roy Troutman was able to confirm the appearance of Magicicadas in Indiana, and a pocket of Magicicadas were discovered in Maryland. See Team Cicada’s Facebook Page for more information.

There have been a number of reports from Kansas, but that might be Brood IV (a 17 year variety) stragglers emerging 4 years early, or perhaps Brood IV(4) is accelerating to join Brood XIX.

White-eyed Cicada Contest

There’s been two more winners in our White-Eyed Cicada Contest:

Meagan Lang of Nashville, TN:

white eyed cicada

and Serena Cochrane of Gerald MO:

white eyed cicada

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May 22, 2011

Cicada Contest: Find a Cicada with White Eyes and Win a Prize

Filed under: Brood XIX,Eye Color,Video — by @ 8:35 pm

The White-eyed cicada contest is complete!

I had ten “I Love Cicada” pins sitting in a bag in my office. Ten people found a white-eyed cicada, sent me a photo and won “I Love Cicadas pins”!

  1. Our first pin winner is Joey Simmons of Nashville, TN Photo 1, Photo 2
  2. Our second winner is Meagan Lang of Nashville, TN Photo 1, Photo 2, More…
  3. Our third winner is Serena Cochrane of Gerald MO See the photo.
  4. Our fourth winner is Melissa Han of Nashville TN Photo.
  5. Our fifth winners are Jane and Evan Skinner of Troy MO Photo.
  6. Our sixth winner is Phyllis Rice of Poplar Bluff MO Photo.
  7. Our seventh winner is Jack Willey of Nashville TV Photo 1, Photo 2.
  8. Our eighth winner is Chris Lowry of Nashville TN Photo 1, Photo 2.
  9. Our ninth winner is Nathan Voss of Spring Hill TN Photo.
  10. Our tenth and final winner is Paul Stuve of Columbia, MO Photo.

All white-eyed cicada photos: See their photos of a white eyed Magicicada.

Here’s the prize pins:

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Best Brood XIX Cicada News of the Week

Filed under: Brood XIX,Magicicada,Periodical — by @ 7:55 pm

Here’s a run down of some of the best Brood XIX cicada news and multimedia from the week.

Emergence status:

It appears that Brood XIX’s emergence is now underway in every state they were supposed to emerge in, with the exception of Louisiana, but that could be that no one has reported in from Louisiana yet. You can see the progress of the emergence on Magicicada.org’s 2011 Brood XIX Map. I’m starting to hear that the emergence is winding down in Georgia, while it’s just getting started in Illinois.

Brood XIX is truly the first periodical cicada emergence where social media (Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo) became the primary method that people used to share and learn about cicada news and media. The Cicada Mania Facebook Page has been very active all throughout the emergence with many people sharing excellent photos and videos. I’ve been sharing the latest cicada news stories on the CicadaMania Twitter feed. If you want to keep up with the latest cicada news stories, Twitter is a great place to start.

The first white eyed cicada

Here is the first image of a white-eyed Brood XIX cicada that I’ve seen. The credit goes to biologizer on Flickr.

White eyed Cicada

If you’re on Flickr, you can add your photos to the Cicada Photos group, or if you simply want to see all the cicada photos showing up daily, search for cicadas.

The first Cicada Mania Brood XIX gallery

Thanks to David Green of North Eastern Arkansas for these photos of a Magicicada tredecassini.

Magicicada.

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May 14, 2011

Periodical cicada fun facts to help you survive the Brood XIX invasion

Filed under: Brood XIX,Magicicada — by @ 9:24 am

The Brood XIX emergence is well underway in most Southern states and it’s just getting started in Missouri and Illinois. Here’s a list of topics that will help you through the remainder of the emergence.

Cicadas and Temperature

Cold weather across the U.S. seems to have slowed the Magicicada emergence. It is true that cold temperatures will deter nymphs from emerging, and stop adult cicadas from flying around and singing. Cicadas are “cold blooded” so they rely on air temperature and direct sunlight to warm up, and unless their bodies are warm enough, they won’t be able to fly, sing and mate. The black skin color of Magicicadas helps them warm up, just like how a black leather seat in a car gets hot to the touch in the summer.

Soil temperature is one of the indicators of when periodical cicada nymphs will begin to leave the ground. Typically they will start to emerge once the soil temperature reaches 18°C / 64°F or warmer (8″ beneath the soil surface).

Their body temperature needs to be a little warmer than that to fly. Their minimum flight temperature (MFT) is 18-21°C / 65-70°F. The temperature varies depending on the Brood and species. They’ll need a few more degrees before they’re fully functional, and start singing and mating.

Maximum voluntary tolerance temperature (MVT) for periodical cicadas is 31-34°C / 88-93°F, again depending on Brood and species. Maximum voluntary tolerance is the point at which cicadas seek shade and when thermoregulation takes precedence over other behaviors.

So, until their bodies are about 72°F (“room temperature”) they won’t be flying, sining and mating.

See Thermal responses of periodical cicadas: within and between brood parity (Hemiptera: Cicadidae: Magicicada spp.) and Thermoregulation by Endogenous Heat Production in Two South American Grass Dwelling Cicadas (Homoptera: Cicadidae: Proarna) for more information.

The damage they do

Cicadas don’t cause damage to trees by chewing leaves like other insects to. Instead the damage is caused because they lay their eggs in grooves in the branches of trees. Cicadas are technically parasites of the trees, and they need the trees to survive throughout their entire life cycle, so killing trees is not in the cicadas best interest.

The weakest limbs of a tree are often temporarily damaged or killed off, the result of which is called flagging, as the leaves of the branch will turn brown and look like a flag. They are doing the trees a favor by pruning their weakest branches.

Young trees, ornamental trees and fruit trees will be more prone to damage as they are typically smaller and weaker than older native hardwood trees. I recommend placing netting around these trees and picking the cicadas off by hand, if you’re concerned. Spraying them off the trees with a hose seems to work as well. I don’t recommend filling a bucket with cicadas and dumping them in your neighbors yard, as they can fly back to your yard, and your neighbor will become enraged.

The blue tape works well too: check out this photo of cicadas that can’t make it past the tape.

Grooves made by a cicada:

grooves

An image of Flagging caused by cicadas:

flagging

Do cicadas stink?!

Cicadas do stink, but only once they’re dead and rotting, like most creatures. When you get a pile of dead, wet cicadas they can kick up a serious funk, like putrefying bacon. It’s best to rake up their corpses ASAP, shovel them into a bucket or wheelbarrow, and then bury them, compost them, or use them for catfish or critter bait. Individual cicadas make excellent fish bait.

What do cicadas eat?

Cicadas don’t eat by chewing up leaves; instead they drink their meals. Cicadas use their mouthparts to tap into trees and drink tree fluids called xylem. Occasionally you’ll see cicadas piercing a branch with their mouthparts to take a drink. They aren’t particularly smart, and occasionally mistake people for trees. Luckily cicadas are not venomous.

Do cicadas pee?

Yes, cicadas regularly pee to eliminate excess fluid. Allow me to recommend wearing a cicada hat.

Are cicadas attracted to the sound of lawnmowers and other machinery?

Yes, cicadas are attracted to the sound of lawnmowers, weed wackers, hedge trimmers, etc. Female cicadas think that these machines are males singing, and male cicadas show up to join the other males in what we call a “chorus”.

Why are there so many periodical cicadas?

Their strategy is called “predator satiation”. They reproduce by the millions in order to fill predators up. The idea is that all the squirrels, birds, possums, snakes, lizards, raccoons, varmints, teenagers and other predators will be so full of cicadas and tired of eating them, that a just enough cicadas will escape and get to mate and reproduce.

Think of it this way: Aunt Betsy and Uncle Steve always show up to the barbecue and eat up all the best cuts of meat; few if any meat escapes them. What you want to do is fill Betsy and Steve up with cheap snacks like pork rinds, chips and Coke, so some of the meat will escape their grasp.

How long do they live?

Adults can live a few weeks, but they often don’t get to live that long, as many are born crippled, they get infected with mold, they run out of energy, they get eaten, etc.

An emergence can last locally up to 6 weeks from start to finish. They should all be dead six weeks after you see your first cicadas.

About 98% of cicadas die within the first two years of life. Imagine if they all survived to adulthood! There would be 4800% more of them.

What eats them when they’re underground?

When they’re underground they’re often eaten by moles, but enough of them escape the moles to survive.

Stragglers

If you have a lot of cicadas today, chances are you’ll have a couple next year. Not a lot, just a couple that forgot to emerge this year.

Other ideas to help you enjoy Brood XIX

April 24, 2011

Watch a cicada transform

Filed under: Brood XIX,Magicicada,Video — by @ 9:05 pm

There are many interesting aspects of a periodical cicada emergence, including the length of time they spend underground, their massive numbers, their visual appearance, their amazing songs, and the variety of reactions people have to the cicadas. One of most amazing things you can witness during a cicada emergence is to watch cicadas emerge from the earth as nymphs, crawl up a tree, shed their skins, spread their wings and become adults.

Periodical cicadas will typically emerge over a period of several days. If you discover that cicadas have emerged in your yard by finding their skins (exuvia) or adult cicadas, chances are good more cicadas will emerge later that night. Filming a night-time cicada emergence is an excellent opportunity to use your HD Camcorders, Macro camera settings, and other technology you normally don’t get to use.

Here’s a guide to finding cicadas at night and ideas for filming them:

  1. Be prepared: Get your flash lights ready. Read the manual for your camera to learn about its night time settings, HD settings, Macro settings, etc. Make sure your camera is charged.
  2. Once the sun sets, head outside with your flash light and camera. Carefully walk around beneath the branches of trees, shining your flashlight towards the ground. Cicada nymphs live along the entire root system of a tree, so they can emerge 15 or more feet away from the trunk. Watch this video of cicada nymphs to see what to look for. Listen: you can actually hear them walk through the grass and up the bark of a tree.
  3. Once you’ve spotted nymphs, you can start filming. I usually aim my flashlight at them, and then let the flash in my camera light them up for the photo.
  4. Once a nymph crawls up the tree, and finds a part of the tree that it likes, it will emerge from its skin and become an adult. The process of completely becoming an adult takes several hours, so this is a good opportunity to make a time-lapse movie.

Here is a series of stills from a movie Roy Troutman made of an eclosing Magicicada:

Step 1: The nymph grabs hold of a leaf

Nymphs will crawl around until they find a place to grab hold of with their tiny tarsal claws. Usually they find part of a tree branch or leaf. Sometimes they find a car tire, a brick wall or a barbecue.

A nymph grabs hold of a leaf.

Step 2: The back of the cicada splits open, and the cicada pushes itself out.

The skin of the nymph splits open along the middle of its back, all the way up to its head. The cicada then pushes itself out back-first. You’ll notice that the cicada is white in color with two black spots on its back. At this point the cicada’s body is very soft — until a cicada’s body has hardened, we call them teneral, which means soft or tender in Latin.

The cicada pushes out of the nymph skin.

Step 3: With its abdomen anchored in the nymph skin, the cicada curls back, freeing its legs and spiracles.

The spiracles are the holes through which the cicada breathes. You’ll notice fine white strands connected to the nymph skin — those were once connected to the spiracles.

The cicada curls back, freeing its legs and spiracles.

Step 4: The cicada curls forward, grabs hold of its former skin, and frees its abdomen

The cicada then curls forward, and grabs hold of its former skin

Step 5: The cicada crawls away from its old skin and prepares inflate its wings

The cicada crawls away from its old skin.

Step 6: The cicadas wings fill with fluid and expand

The cicada inflates its wings using haemolymph, a blood-like fluid also used to transport nutrients in a cicada’s body.

The cicadas wings fill with fluid and expand.

Wings expand to their final shape

Now, watch the entire video:

Step 7: The color of the cicada darkens and its body hardens

Once the cicada has expanded its wings, the cicadas will turn their final color and their bodies and wings will harden. Once the body and wings are sufficiently hardened, they are able to fly and sing.

The “finished product” looks like this:

I hope you have the opportunity to watch a night time cicada emergence! It can be a lot of fun.


April 16, 2011

The first photographed 2011 13-year cicada

Filed under: Brood XIX,Magicicada — by @ 7:11 am


13-year cicada – brood XIX, originally uploaded by myriorama.

The first photo I’ve seen of Brood XIX Magicicada so far in 2011. Appears to be a Magicicada tredecim.

Abbeville County, South Carolina

You can see this insect on Bug Guide as well.

Update (4/19): here’s the second photographed adult. This one is from Virgina I believe. Right now adults should be showing up here and there, but it won’t be for a few more weeks before things get crazy.

Update (4/26): there’s lots of Brood XIX photos showing up on Flickr now. I started a Brood XIX Gallery in an effort to keep track of them.

April 13, 2011

It’s on! The first Brood XIX Magicicada cicada sightings

Filed under: Brood XIX — by @ 5:13 am

Magicicada.org reported on Facebook that they’ve received their first two Brood XIX sightings. You can see where on their site (check their 2011 Brood XIX sightings map).

Have you seen a cicada, and not reported it yet?

Here’s what to look for to get ready:

Look for holes in soil. Holes about the diameter of man’s finger. This is a sign that nymphs have dug their way to the surface in preparation to emerge:

Cicada holes

Cicada Holes

Also Look for cicada chimneys, aka turrets. These are similar to holes in that the nymphs are coming to the surface in preparation to emerge. The cicadas build these structures out of soil where their tunnels meet the surface.

Magicicada chimneys

Look for cicada nymphs. This is what Magicicada nymphs look like. They’re golden-brown, they have six prominent legs, and red eyes.

Magicicada nymphs

Look for adults. The guy at the top-right side of every Cicada Mania page is a Magicicada. You’ll also find dozens of Magicicada photos in our gallery, and dozens of Magicicada videos on this site.

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