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June 25, 2015

How do you pronounce Cicada?

Filed under: FAQs,William T. Davis — Dan @ 8:35 pm

You can say “si-kah-da” or “si-kay-da”. Either pronunciation is correct. The pronunciation changes depending on your regional accent.

Around New York and New Jersey folks pronounce it “si-kah-da”. William T. Davis pronounced it “si-kah-da”. Davis was a naturalist and entomologist located in Staten Island, NY, active in the late 1800′s and early 1900′s. Davis collected the largest collection of cicadas in the United States. The collection is currently housed at the Staten Island Museum. Davis described over 100 cicadas in his career — he should know what he’s saying. :)

William T. Davis

February 4, 2013

A day at the Staten Island Museum

Filed under: Edward Johnson,Hemisciera,United States,William T. Davis — Dan @ 10:51 pm

I spent most of the day at the Staten Island Museum. The Staten Island Museum has North America’s largest collection of cicadas — over 35,000 specimens!!! Most, if not all the specimens came from William T. Davis’ personal collection. Davis was a naturalist and entomologist located in Staten Island, NY, who was active in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Read more about the collection.

The museum is currently working on a huge cicada exhibit and many cicada events throughout the year. The They’re Baaack! Return of the 17-year Cicada Family Day event will happen in a few weeks.

Here’s a few shots of the museum and the collection I took with my camera phone:

Part of their giant Wall of Insects:


S.I. Wall of Insects

Number 39 in that photo is Hemisciera maculipennis, aka the “stop and go cicada”. When alive the cicada’s coloring is green and red, like a traffic signal. Here is a photo of a live H. maculipennis.

Tibicen and Cicada Killer Wasps:


Tibicen and Cicada Killer Wasps

Tacua speciosa detail:


Tacua speciosa

A giant light-up cicada outside the museum:

Light Up Cicada

Just part of the Staten Island Museum’s cicada collection


Staten Island Museum Cicada Collection

Thanks to Ed Johnson, Director of Science, for showing me many of amazing specimens in the museum’s collection.

Bonus: You can download a copy of William T. Davis’ document North American Cicadas. It’s free!