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 http://translate.google.com/ if you can’t read Japanese.
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 Amazon.co.jp.
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.
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.
I don’t know what species this is, but the photo was take in Japan.
Semi means cicada in Japanese.
Turns out to be a Oncotympana Maculaticollis.
Here’s an excellent cicada website from Japan. This site features four gallerys of cicada photos, and a distribution map of Japanese cicadas. Thanks to Nanami Higashino for creating such a fine website.