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November 24, 2015

Cicada Fun with Google Trends

Filed under: Australia,Brood X,Japan,Periodical,United States — Dan @ 7:59 pm

This article was inspired by Serious Fun with Google Trends by Simon Leather.

Google Trends is a Google website that lets you see trends in the search terms over time. When people search for “cicada” it usually means cicadas have emerged in their area at the time they search.

The following graph shows when people searched for “cicada” over the past 10 years in the United States. The largest spike, in May of 2004, coincided with the emergence of Brood X.


You might think that periodical cicada emergences cause the largest spikes, but not always — and not just because periodical cicadas don’t emerge every year.

2004: Cicada searches spiked May 16-22, which was Brood X – Magicicadas.
2005: Jul 31-Aug 6 spike which was for Neotibicen Cicadas. No periodical cicadas.
2006: Aug 13-19, Neotibicen Cicadas. No periodical cicadas.
2007: May 20-26, Brood XIII – Magicicadas.
2008: Brood XIV Magicicadas emerged (spike Jun 8-14), but the largest spike was Jul 29-Aug 2, Neotibicen Cicadas.
2009: Aug 16-22, Neotibicen Cicadas.
2010: Aug 8-14, Neotibicen Cicadas.
2011: May 29-Jun 4, Brood XIX – Magicicadas.
2012: Jul 29-Aug 4, Neotibicen Cicadas.
2013: May 5-11, Brood II – Magicicadas.
2014: Brood XXII – Magicicadas had a relatively small spike May 25-31, compared with Aug 24-30 for Neotibicen Cicadas (late season due to cool weather). There was also a teeny bit of a spike around January of 2014 due to the “cicada 3301” meme/game.
2015: Brood XXIII & IV Magicicadas emerged (spike around Jun 7-13), but the largest spike was around Aug 9-15 for Neotibicen Cicadas.

Which cities had the most cicada searches over the past 10 years? Cincinnati, Omaha, Nashville, Baltimore, Washington, Chicago, Alexandria, St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Charlotte. Time for me to move to Cincinnati!

How about Australia? Cicada searches in Australia spike in December. The largest spike was in December of 2013, which was indeed a big year for cicada emergences in Australia.

The variation year after year suggests that there is a degree of periodicity to Australian cicadas. There is always a spike around December, but some years see bigger spikes than others. Just speculation (partially because the 2004 & 2005 data seems absent) but perhaps there is a 9 or 11 year proto-periocity happening.

In terms of cities, Sydney has had the most cicada searches:

How about Japan?! August is the best month for cicadas (セミ) in Japan.

Yokohama, Chiba & Saitama generates the most cicada searches:

March 4, 2015

New Version of The Cicadidae of Japan

Filed under: Books,Japan — Dan @ 6:08 am

A new version of the Cicadidae of Japan is out. This is not a reprint. It adds new photos and the accompanying CD features new audio recordings.

Cicadidae of Japan

It is available on Amazon in Japan.

July 10, 2014

A new cicada keychain toy from Japan

Filed under: Japan,Pop Culture — Dan @ 4:43 am

There is a new cicada keychain toy from Japan. It comes in five colors, and produces its sound using a wind up mechanism. Buy it here.

March 25, 2014

Some cicada books from Japan

Filed under: Books,Japan — Dan @ 4:04 am

Every now and then I treat myself to a cicada book from Japan. Cicadas are called semi in Japan, which seems to be spelled セミ or 蝉. Enter セミ or 蝉 into the search box and you’ll find a bunch of cicada books (amongst other things).

I’ve already written about Dr. M. Haysashi and Dr. Yasumasa Saisho‘s fantastic The Cicadidae of Japan book. Here are some others:

セミ観察記 (写真絵本 ぼくの庭にきた虫たち):

This book features huge photos of cicadas through all phases of their lives. It also features diagrams of their lifecycle and underground tunnels.

A Cicada Book from Japan

セミ・カメムシの仲間 (海野和男のワクワク虫図鑑):

Only the first eleven pages of this book are about cicadas, but they are excellent, featuring large photos of common cicadas. The book features two pages that match nymph exoskeletons to adult cicadas.

And Another Cicada Book from Japan

セミの一生 (科学のアルバム):

This book also features many large photos of cicadas throughout their life cycle. The photos of eggs and first instar nymphs are particularly nice.

Another Cicada Book from Japan

Note that these books are not written in English.

January 1, 2014

Websites about the cicadas of Japan

Filed under: Japan,Websites — Dan @ 11:04 am
  1. Cicadae in Japan ( An excellent resource, including a list of Japanese cicadas, dozens of photos and audio files. AUDIO PHOTOS
  2. Cicada stamps and sculptures from Japan and elsewhere ( PHOTOS
  3. Japanese insect pictures ( Many cicada photos! PHOTOS

September 11, 2011

Fukushima radiation possibly impacting cicadas in Japan

Filed under: Japan — Dan @ 11:11 am

Update: @Zi_kade on twitter (he’s a cicada expert in Japan) said that these deformities were caused by wind. Good news.

Radiation from the Fukushima reactor is possibly impacting cicadas in Japan. I say possibly, because I don’t know for sure, but the following articles infer that radiation is playing a part in cicada deformities and complications during eclosing (when they shed their nymph skins and become adults). Looks like about 20% of cicadas are affected in the study mentioned in the articles. It will be interesting to see how this story plays out. If the affected cicadas were in areas that flooded during the tsunami, it could be their bodies were damaged by water soaking the ground or flooding their tunnels.

Breaking News: Radiation has started attacking DNA.

Photos of possibly affected cicadas:



Use Google Translate if you can’t read Japanese.

April 5, 2011

The Cicadidae of Japan. Cicada book of the year?

Filed under: Books,Japan — Dan @ 4:37 am

It’s too early to say, but The Cicadidae of Japan might end up being the cicada book of the year. The book was authored by Dr. M. Haysashi and Dr. Yasumasa Saisho (of the incredible Cicadidae of Japan website), and it includes photos and a CD of cicada song.

The book is currently available from

Information from Dr. Yasumasa Saisho:

Hello. I inform you that “The Cicadidae of Japan” by Dr. M.Hayashi and
myself is published. This book consists of taxonomic exposition, ecological
information, distribution, acoustic attribute of calling songs,
morphological features of Japanese cicadidae with many photos and CD
(including all songs of Japanese species, about 70min).

M. Hayashi and Y. Saisho (2011). The Cicadidae of Japan,
224 pp., Seibundo-shinkosha, Tokyo.

M. Hayashi and Y. Saisho (2011). The Cicadidae of Japan

January 11, 2011

Cicadas from Japan

Filed under: Japan,Lyristes — Dan @ 9:07 pm

I re-scanned some old (10+ years old) photos from Osamu Hikino.

Graptopsaltria nigrofuscata.

Platypleura kaempferi. Amazing camouflage!

A male Tanna japonensis.

A male Tibicen japonicus.

A male Tibicen japonicus.

A male Tibicen japonicus.

Ways to donate and help the earthquake/tsunami survivors.

September 13, 2008


Filed under: Japan,Pop Culture — Dan @ 6:10 pm

Meet Semi-Ningen, star of the Japanese monster movie Ultra Q Episode 16 “The Revenge of Garamon”. He’s part Cicada, part human, and all scary.

Shake on it?, originally uploaded by RedYoda.

Semi Ningen (Cicada-Human) is dispatched to earth, disguised as a human man, by his evil alien Cicada brethren and tasked with controlling (2) Garamon to create all kinds of general havoc in Tokyo.


August 23, 2008


Filed under: Japan — Dan @ 9:22 am

semi, originally uploaded by murakami.kenta.

I don’t know what species this is, but the photo was take in Japan.

Semi means cicada in Japanese.

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