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June 27, 2015

What eats cicadas?

Filed under: FAQs,Massospora cicadina — Dan @ 1:32 pm

What eats cicadas? A better question is: what doesn’t eat cicadas?

Pretty much every creature with a mouth will eat a cicada, given the chance. Even organisms without mouths like fungi will consume cicadas.

People, pets, rodents, marsupials, reptiles, birds, fish, insects, arachnids — virtually any creature will eat them.

Some insects are known for specifically preying on cicadas, for example, Cicada Killer Wasps are well known for capturing cicadas for their larvae to eat them.

What eats them when they’re underground? When they’re underground they’re often eaten by moles and other furry insectivores, but enough of them escape the moles for the species to survive.

Read are cicadas safe to eat if you’re planning a cicada buffet.

November 19, 2014

Which fungus attacks Magicicadas? Massospora cicadina

Filed under: FAQs,Magicicada,Massospora cicadina — Dan @ 8:32 pm

The fungus Massospora cicadina preys on Magicicadas cicadas. This is particularly interesting because the fungus is able to prey upon them in spite of their long 17 year life cycle (apparently fungi are not phased by prime numbers).

When the fungus destroys the abdomen of male cicadas, they will behave like female cicadas and flick their wings in response to the songs of male cicadas, and attempt to mate with other males.

A photo by Roy Troutman from Brood XIV (2008):

Magicicada with fungus

Two photos by Dan Mozgai from Brood II (2013):

Male Magicicada septendecim infected with Massospora cicadina fungus

Magicicada septendecim with Massosporan fungus found at the Edison Memorial Tower Park in Edison NJ

Magicicada fungus (massospora cicadina)

magicicada fungus (massospora cicadina) from Roy Troutman.

New from 2017: the Massospora cicadina viewed under a microscope.