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July 9, 2017

Cicadas of Japan

Tibicen japonicus
Photo: Auritibicen japonicus by Osamu Hikino.

Cicada season in Japan, like North America, seems to be best from June to September, peaking in August. Different cicada species emerge at different times of the year, but the majority of them are active during the summer.

Google Trends data for cicada searches in Japan backs that up:

The best website for the cicadas of Japan that I’ve come across is Cicadae in Japan which is run by Y. Saisho who co-wrote the amazing The Cicadidae of Japan book & CD.

I don’t have too many photos of cicadas from Japan on this site, but here are some of the more well known (Genus names may have changed recently):

Cicadas are very popular in Japan, and they find their way into pop culture (Anime, live action kids shows like Ultraman). This photo features a cicada toy, when spun, makes a sound, some cicada clicker toys, a plush Oncotympana, a Seminingen (bad guy from Ultraman), and Yotsuba a green-haired girl who has caught a cicada (Lyristes japonicus perhaps):

cicada related pop culture items from Japan

The best place, I’ve found, to keep track of which cicadas are out in Japan is Twitter. You can search Twitter yourself for セミ and you’ll find many results — most Tweets are references to pop culture, but occasional photos and actual information about actual cicadas.

These are many of the Twitter feeds I follow. You don’t need to belong to Twitter to view their feeds, but it’s more fun if you join.

Bonus:

Here’s a video of a Yezoterpnosia nigricosta taken by Elias Bonaros:

My 2017 Brood X and VI Experiences

Filed under: Brood VI,Brood X,Life Cycle,Magicicada — Dan @ 8:28 am

I’ll cut to the chase, in terms of Brood VI, I only experienced the emergence via my web browser. I planned on visiting North Carolina but rain and car troubles stood in my way. I did travel to Wisconsin to try to find legendary populations said to exist there, but I found no cicadas. I drove routes 90, 14, 12, 23 and roads in between, but I had no luck finding them. My investigation was by no means comprehensive, but I covered as much ground as I could in the two days I was there, and found no periodical cicadas.

Brood X stragglers are a different story. I missed seeing the massive Virginia/Maryland area populations, but I was able to see cicadas in Princeton, and the significant emergence in the Dublin area of Ohio. Here is a map of where I saw periodical cicadas

Princeton, NJ

On May 20th I visited Princeton and found exuvia (shed skins/”shells”) on a pole next to where I parked my car, which was very encouraging. I headed for the Princeton Battle Monument park, a place where I saw massive numbers of cicadas in 2004. There, in 2017, I found exuvia but no adults — from 5 to as many as 200 per tree (I counted what I could see). The park was overflowing with squirrels and birds that would love to eat cicadas — I have no doubt why no stragglers survived. Black birds paced the lawn five abreast, like a small army systematically hunting for insect prey. During a normal emergence periodical cicadas emerge in such great numbers that many are able to get past the armies of hungry birds and rodents (this is called predator satiation). After visiting the park, I walked many side streets and found exuvia everywhere I went — not massive piles like we see during a normal, on-schedule emergence — but at least a few on every tree.

I returned on May 27th, and actually found adult cicadas in Princeton. I found dozens of Magicicada cassini and a few Magicicada septendecim. There were not enough adults to form viable choruses. I doubt few mated. I heard a single Magicicada cassini court song, so all least they were trying.

The most interesting cicada I saw was this Magicicada cassini with a mosaic pigment mutation, which caused the unusual orange marking on its abdomen. At first I thought it was a Magicicada septendecim, but Chris Simon confirmed that it was not.

Magicicada cassini with mosaic pigment mutation in Princeton 2017

I also drove Rt 29 from Trenton to Frenchtown, across Rt 12 to Flemmington, and down Rt 31 and heard no cicada populations. I visited Sourland Mountain. I visited many of the markers on Magicicada.org but found no cicadas, and certainly no viable adult populations (no singing, not enough to perpetuate a population).

North of Dublin, Ohio

On June 10th I made it to the suburbs north of Dublin, Ohio (itself north of Columbus). There I encountered a very active periodical cicada emergence. I mostly found Magicicada cassini, but I could hear Magicicada septendecim from time to time. I have little doubt that many cicadas mated and some of their progeny will survive to appear in another 14 or 17 years.

North of Dublin

Cedar Springs, OH

When I’m mapping cicadas I try to stop at every rest stop and welcome center to look for cicadas. I found periodical cicada exvuia at a rest stop on Rt 70 hear Cedar Springs, Ohio. This was a nice find because I didn’t see any signtings in this area on the Magicicada.org map.

Indianapolis, IN, near Ft. Harrison State park

I passed through Indianapolis, IN twice on my way to and from Wisconsin. I found some exuvia on the outskirts of Ft. Harrison State park, but nothing inside the park (weird).

July 6, 2017

Cicada 3301 cicada compared to Distantalna splendida

Filed under: Distantalna,Identify,Pop Culture — Dan @ 9:08 pm

Today I took a fresh look at the 3301 Cicada image. In the past I thought it was a composition of multiple cicadas — and it still might be — but I now think it’s primarily a Distantalna splendida formerly Tosena splendida, a cicada found in southern Asia (China, India, Burma, Tailand, Vietnam, etc.). Distortions caused by embossing — or whatever filters they used — makes identifying the cicada difficult.

Here’s my comparison of the wings.

cicada 3301

I will probably do a comparison of the body and head at some point.

Here’s a photo of this Splendid cicada:
Distantalna splendida

Specimens vary in appearance (size, wing patterns) from individual to individual — they all look similar, but they’re not exact matches. The process of spreading a specimen’s wings and preserving it can also alter its appearance, and introduce unnatural changes to the insects morphology.

Distantalna splendida are easy to find on eBay or taxidermy shops if you’re interested, although they’re often mis-labeled using their former name Tosena splendida, or something totally different.

July 5, 2017

The Dusk Singers

Filed under: Annual,Megatibicen,Neotibicen,United States — Dan @ 9:17 pm

The Dusk Singers

Dusk is the time of day between sunset and night. Many species of Megatibicen & Neotibicen (formerly Tibicen) sing at this time. I’m not sure why they sing at this time — perhaps it helps them avoid audio competition with other singing insects, or perhaps it helps them avoid predators by calling at this specific time of the day.

If you find yourself outdoors in the eastern half of the U.S. after sunset and hear a cicada call, it is likely one of the following Megatibicen or Neotibicen species:

Megatibicen

Megatibicen are LARGE and LOUD cicadas.

Megatibicen auletes aka the Northern Dusk Singing Cicada. This cicada can be found in these states: AL, AR, CT, DE, DC, FL, GA, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MD, MA, MI, MS, MO, NE, NJ, NY, NC, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WV, WI. Season: July to Fall.

M. auletes Call*:

Megatibicen figuratus aka the Fall Southeastern Dusk-singing Cicada. Found in: AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, TX, VA. Season: July to Fall.

M. figuratus Call*:

Megatibicen resh aka Resh Cicada aka Western Dusk Singing Cicada. Found in: AR, KS, LA, MS, NE, OK, SC, TN, TX. Season: July to Fall.

M. resh Call*:

Megatibicen resonans aka Southern Resonant/Great Pine Barrens Cicada aka Southern Dusk Singing Cicada. Found in AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, TX, VA. Season: July to Fall.

M. resonans Call*:

Neotibicen

Medium-sized, green cicadas with calls that sound like the rhythmic grinding of a scissor on a sharpening wheel (not a common tool in the 21st century).

Neotibicen pruinosus pruinosus aka Scissor(s) Grinder. Found in AL, AR, CO, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MI, MN, MS, MO, NE, OH, OK, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, WV, WI. Season: June – September. Neotibicen pruinosus fulvus aka Pale Scissor(s) Grinder Cicada. Found in: KS, OK. Season: June – September.

N. pruinosus Call*:

Neotibicen winnemanna aka Eastern Scissor(s) Grinder. Found in AL, DE, DC, GA, KY, LA, MD, MS, NC, NJ, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WV. Season: June – Fall.

N. winnemanna Call*:

*Audio files are Copyright of InsectSingers.com. Season information gathered from BugGuide.net.

June 29, 2017

Okanagana Cicadas

Filed under: Okanagana,Proto-periodical — Dan @ 7:11 pm

Okanagana cicadas
Photo credit: left, O. rimosa by Natasha; right, O. bella by Matt Berger.

Okanagana is a genus of cicadas that share their name with the Okanagan Lake, Valley & County areas of British Columbia, Canada. As you might guess, Okanagana are common in Canada. It is likely that the genus was named in tribute to the Okanagan people.

There are approximately 61 species in North America. 93% of species live west of the Mississippi river.

West of the Mississippi, O. synodica synodica & O. bella are the most common species in terms of the number of states and providences they are found. O. canadensis & O. rimosa are the most common species east of the Mississippi.

Lifespans and Lifecycles:

Okanagana rimosa have a lifespan of 9 years. Okanagana synodica have a lifespan of possibly 17 to 19 years! (see Campbell et al. 10.1073/pnas.1421386112).

Okanagana rimosa also appear to be proto-periodical (source) meaning they are abundant in some years, and scarce, but not absent in others.

“Soper et al (112) showed experimentally that Okanagana rimosa had a life
cycle of 9 years, and that in the field during a 9-year period (1962 to
1970) it was extremely abundant in 4 years and scarce or absent in the
other 5. Heath (32) also studied cicadas of the genus Okanagana and
found several species that appear to be protoperiodical.”

I’m not sure, but I suppose other species of Okanagana have proto-periodical lifecycles as well. This would explain why people see Okanagana in great numbers one year, and very few in previous years.

Okanagana
O. canadensis photo taken by Lester Wayne Daniels.

Identification:

Okanagana are typically around between June and July, depending on the species and latitude.

Okanagana are often black, with white, beige or orange highlights on their wings and body. The black color of their exoskeletons helps them absorb warmth from the sun.

Look for four symmetrical markings on their mesonotum (back). The image at the beginning the the article highlights these markings.

One Okanagana that has atypical coloration is the O. viridis which is green. This outlier is one of the few species found in southern states.

Here is a list of Okanagana. The list features the songs of 10 Okanagana that might help you identify Okanagana in your area.

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