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August 6, 2018

Megatibicen resh aka the Resh Cicada

Filed under: Megatibicen — Tags: — Dan @ 6:51 am

Megatibicen resh (formerly Neotibicen resh and Tibicen resh) is commonly known as the Resh Cicada because the markings on its back resemble the Hebrew symbol Resh “ר”. The Resh Cicada has been documented to be found in Arkansas, Kansas, Lousiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennesee, and Texas.

Most people will discover them by finding their exuvia (shed skins, “shells”) on trees, or by their striking calls at sunset. I first encountered this cicada in Dallas, Texas near Pioneer Plaza (cattle sculptures). First I found the exuvia on oak trees (I needed a 3′ stick added to my 8′ reach to knock them down), and then at sunset I heard their call (which I mistook for M. auletes (which is not in Texas)). Listen to their song.

It is one of the smaller Megatibicen — maybe only M. dealbatus is smaller. Compare sizes using this image by Kathy Hill. Its compound eyes are gray-beige, with a black “mask” between the eyes, and its simple eyes are pink. Its ventral side is white and caramel colored. Its dorsal side is dominated by a light green color, with black, brown and white — forming a symmetrical camouflage pattern — which helps to hide the cicada in its arboreal habitat. Recently molted, golden pruinose shimmers on its head, pronotum, mesonotum, and abdomen.

Megatibicen resh  female adult

During the molting process, up until the cicada’s body sclerotizes (hardens), the cicada’s body is leaf-green (camouflaged like a hanging leaf).

Megatibicen resh  female spreading wings 2

The exuvia of the Resh cicada is large and easy to spot, even high up in trees. Even though molted adults are closer in size to N. tibicen than M. auletes, the exuvia of M. resh is comparable to M. auletes, which is the largest cicada in North America.

Resh Auletes and Tibicen

July 31, 2018

New paper: The periodical cicada four-year acceleration hypothesis revisited and the polyphyletic nature of Brood V

A new paper about periodical cicadas! View it: https://peerj.com/articles/5282/

“The periodical cicada four-year acceleration hypothesis revisited and the polyphyletic nature of Brood V, including an updated crowd-source enhanced map (Hemiptera: Cicadidae: Magicicada)”

Authors: John R. Cooley​, Nidia Arguedas, Elias Bonaros, Gerry Bunker, Stephen M. Chiswell, Annette DeGiovine, Marten Edwards, Diane Hassanieh, Diler Haji, John Knox, Gene Kritsky, Carolyn Mills, Dan Mozgai, Roy Troutman, John Zyla, Hiroki Hasegawa, Teiji Sota, Jin Yoshimura, and Chris Simon.

Abstract:

The periodical cicadas of North America (Magicicada spp.) are well-known for their long life cycles of 13 and 17 years and their mass synchronized emergences. Although periodical cicada life cycles are relatively strict, the biogeographic patterns of periodical cicada broods, or year-classes, indicate that they must undergo some degree of life cycle switching. We present a new map of periodical cicada Brood V, which emerged in 2016, and demonstrate that it consists of at least four distinct parts that span an area in the United States stretching from Ohio to Long Island. We discuss mtDNA haplotype variation in this brood in relation to other periodical cicada broods, noting that different parts of this brood appear to have different origins. We use this information to refine a hypothesis for the formation of periodical cicada broods by 1- and 4-year life cycle jumps.

July 25, 2018

Collared cicadas of Mexico, Central & South America

Filed under: Daza,Miranha,Odopoea,Procollina,Zammara — Dan @ 5:05 am

Most of the information on this website is focused on cicadas of the U.S.A. and Canada. There are plenty of cicadas south of the U.S., of course. Recently we started getting identification (ID) requests for cicadas of Mexico, and with the help of experts (Geert Goemans and Allen Sanborn) and a paper from the early 20th century, I was able to ID them all.

A large number of the IDs were for cicadas with pronounced pronotal collars. Many of these look like the same species, but they’re not. Many of these species are found from Mexico, throughout Central America down to South America.

On this page are six collared cicadas that exist in Mexico, Central America and South America. Illustrations come from Insecta. Rhynchota. Hemiptera-Homoptera. Vol. I by W. L. Distant and The Rev Canon W. W. Fowler, F.L.S. I updated the names to their current names (the source is about 100 years behind the times, expectedly so). Note that the illustrations from this document are of dead specimens, so the colors were faded at the time they were illustrated.

Daza montezuma (Walker, 1850)

Formerly Odopoea montezuma. This cicada is actually tourquois to pale blue when alive. Red eyes. No infuscation (coloration) in the wings. Link to original illustration..

Daza montezuma

Zammara smaragdina Walker, 1850

Green with black infuscation in the wings.

Zammara smaragdina Walker, 1850

Here is a photo by Andreas Key (taken in Ecuador):

Emerald Cicada, Zammara smaragdina

Zammara calochroma Walker, 1858

Green with remarkable black infuscation in the wings.

Zammara calochroma Walker, 1858

Miranha imbellis (Walker, 1858)

formerly Odopoea imbellis

Miranha imbellis (Walker, 1858)

Procollina medea (Stål, 1864)

formerly Odopoea medea

Procollina medea (Stål, 1864)

Odopoea azteca Distant, 1881

Odopoea azteca Distant, 1881

References:

  • Allen F. Sanborn. Catalogue of the Cicadoidea (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha). Academic Press. 2014. 10.1016/B978-0-12-416647-9.00001-2
  • Goemans, Geert. (2010). A historical overview of the classification of the Neotropical tribe Zammarini (Hemiptera, Cicadidae) with a key to genera. ZooKeys. 43. 10.3897/zookeys.43.386.
  • This flicker gallery of cicadas with collars. I think Geert curates this.
  • W. L. Distant et al. Insecta. Rhynchota. Hemiptera-Homoptera. Vol. I (1881-1905)
  • A recent, related article by Allen: Allen F. Sanborn. 2018. The cicada genus Procollina Metcalf, 1952 (Hemiptera: Cicadidae): Redescription including fourteen new species, with a key to the species of the subtribe Dazina Kato, 1932 rev. stat., the description of the Aragualnini n. tribe, and one new combination. Zootaxa 4389(1):1. 10.11646/zootaxa.4389.1.1.

July 4, 2018

Are cicadas safe to eat? 🍲

Filed under: Eating Cicadas,Magicicada,Periodical — Dan @ 1:01 am

Update (July 2018): A company called Meat Maniac sells cicadas in a can. Don’t know which species, but they have a “nutty flavor”.

Also, send me a box of these cicadas from China… um, I mean Chinese City Tells Citizens to Fight Bug Infestation By Eating Them.

Meat Maniac cicadas in a can

Also, read this amazing story about how Brood VII cicadas helped kept the Onondaga Nation alive during a time of famine.

The original article from 2006:

[WARNING:] Cicadas, 17-year cicadas at least, are well-known bioaccumulators of mercury. If consuming mercury is a concern, you should not eat cicadas.

Dogs, cats, squirrels, fish, and people can’t stop eating cicadas. Are they crazy, or “crazy like a fox”? (Foxes will eat them too.)

Pets and other domesticated animals

This is a cartoon of a dog about to eat a cicada

People want to know: “is it safe for my pets to eat cicadas”. The truth is in most cases your pets will be fine if they eat a few cicadas, however, you still need to be cautious and keep a close eye on your pets. Watch them for odd behavior, and don’t let them gorge themselves. Be cautious: the Humane Society has warned: “Cicadas Dangerous to Pets” [the original link is gone].

Pet-related concerns:

  1. Pets can choke on the rigid wings and other hard body parts of the cicadas.
  2. Pets will gorge themselves on cicadas, and possibly become ill and vomit.
  3. Pets who consume cicadas sprayed with copious amounts of pesticide can and will die.
  4. Pets might have an allergic reaction to the cicadas just as people do.

Bottom line: play it safe, and don’t let your pets eat cicadas if you can help it.

People:

Whether they’re curious, hungry, or doing it for the shock value, people are eating cicadas. Asian peoples have eaten cicadas for centuries, and there are records of Native Americans eating cicadas. People joke that they’re Atkins friendly [also no gluten]. I’ve heard they taste like asparagus, popcorn, minty shrimp, and piney shrimp — YUMMY PINE.

A man in Bloomington Indiana had an allergic reaction to cicadas after eating 30. He was also allergic to seafood — both cicadas and shrimps are arthropods so this makes sense.

[Note to self, “Do it, Dan, don’t be a wimp!”]

People related concerns:

  1. Cicadas are well known bioaccumulators of mercury.
  2. You could choke on their hard body parts.
  3. You could have an allergic reaction. If you’re allergic to seafood, don’t think about eating them.
  4. Do you really want to eat something that’s been marinating in lawn fertilizers,
    pesticides and other chemicals for the past 17 years?
  5. If you get the gout, it makes sense to avoid them.

People related links:

  1. National Geographic: National Geographic News :Low-Fat, High Protein Cicadas: New Health Snack
  2. Stephanie Bailey’s Internet insect cookbook has tips on how to prepare insects for human consumption! [note that the link now goes to an article by Stephanie about eating insects in general.]

Bottom line: You’re not a contestant on Fear Factor [a reality TV show in the 00s]. Why eat cicadas when you can choose from many of the fine menu choices at Applebees [a chain restaurant]?

Fish, turkeys, squirrels and everything else

If a creature has a mouth or some other mechanism to digest cicadas, it likely will try to eat them. Cicadas make great fish bait. Squirrels (yes, they’re nuts for cicadas too), birds, possums, raccoons, foxes, other insects, fungi… they all love cicadas.

Bottom line: let nature do the dirty work and clean your yard one bite at a time.

Tom eats a cicada
Tom: Cicada Gormandize.


June 23, 2018

Brood VII, the Onondaga Brood, Will Emerge in New York State in 2018

Filed under: Brood VII,Magicicada,Periodical — Dan @ 1:01 am

Update (June 17th): I just got back from Onondaga county and I can report that the emergence is in full swing. Lots of chorusing and mating. The best locations are around the Onondaga Nation reservation. If you visit, please do not trespass into the reservation — there are plenty of cicadas outside of it. John Cooley of Magicicada.org said there are also reports of cicadas in the Green Lakes State Park.

Here’s a video montage:

And a gallery:

Brood VII Magicicada septendecim 2018 Syracuse.

About Brood VII

Periodical cicadas (Magicicada septendecim, people call them “locusts”) will emerge in the Finger Lakes area of New York state in 2018.

This group of cicadas is called Brood VII (7) and is known as the Onondaga Brood. This brood is shrinking, and will likely be the next periodical cicada brood to go extinct

A pair of Magicicada septendecim:
A pair of mating Magicicada septendecims found in Woodbridge Township NJ

More details:

  • What: Brood VII is the smallest periodical cicada brood in the U.S., and is isolated in the Finger Lakes area of New York State. Only one species of cicada belongs to the brood: Magicicada septendecim (click link for sounds, video). This cicada has a 17-year life cycle. Sadly, Brood VII will likely be the next Brood to go extinct.
  • When: June, but perhaps May if it’s a very warm year. Magicicada cicadas typically emerge in the spring, once the soil underground where they live reaches approximately 64 degrees Faraihneght.
  • Where: the Finger Lakes area of NY State.
    • Where they appeared (last) in 2001: Onondaga and Livingston.
    • The following counties have had these cicadas in the distant past: Cayuga, Livingston, Monroe, Onondaga, Ontario, Seneca, Steuben, Wyoming, York.
  • The Onondaga Nation survived starvation one year by eating these cicadas

Further reading / viewing / listening:

Papers about Brood VII

  • The Historical Contraction of Periodical Cicada Brood Vii (Hemiptera: Cicadidae: Magicicada by John R. Cooley, David C. Marshall and Chris Simon. J. New York Entomol. Soc. 112(2–3):198–204, 2004. Link to PDF download.
  • Decrease in Geographic Range of the Finger Lakes Brood(Brood Vii) of the Periodical Cicada (Hemiptera: Cicadidae: Magicicada Spp.) by Cole Gilbert and Carolyn Klass. J. New York Entomol. Soc. 114(1–2):78–85, 2006.

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