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August 24, 2014

It is possible to identify Tibicen just after they have molted

Paul Krombholz has come through with an awesome guide to identifying Tibicens just after they have molted. Click the image below for an even larger version.

It is possible to identify Tibicen species just after they have molted

Notes on the species from Paul:

T. pruinosus [formerly T. pruinosa]—Newly molted adult has darker mesonotum (top of mesothorax) than the very common T. chloromera. Abdomen is a golden orange color. Older adult has dark olive on lateral sides of mesonotum, lighter green below the “arches”.

T. pronotalis (formerly walkeri, marginalis)—Quite large. The reddish brown color can be seen on the mesonotum of newly molted adult. Older adult has solid green pronotum (top of prothorax) and red-brown markings on sides of mesonotum. Below the “arches” the mesonotum color can range from carmel to green. Head is black between the eyes.

T. tibicen [T. chloromerus, T. chloromera]—has large, swollen mesonotum, quite pale in a newly molted adult and almost entirely black in an older adult. Individuals from east coast can have large russet patches on sides of mesonotum. The white, lateral :”hip patches” on the anteriormost abdominal segment are always present, but the midline white area seen in my picture is sometimes absent.

T. davisi—Small. This is a variable species, but all have an oversized head which is strongly curved, giving it a ‘hammerhead’ appearance. Newly molted individuals are usually brown with blueish wing veins that will become brown, but some have more green in wing veins. Some may have pale mesonotums that will become mostly black. Older adults vary from brownish to olive to green markings on pronotum and mesonotum.

T. figuratus [formerly T. figurata]—a largish entirely brown cicada. Newly molted adult has a pink-brown coloration with some blueish hints. Older adult has chestnut-brown markings and no green anywhere. Head is not very wide in relation to the rest of the body. The small cell at the base of the forewing is black.

T. auletes—a large, wide-bodied cicada. Newly molted adult is very green, but the older adult loses most of the green, usually retaining an olive posterior flange of the pronotum. The dorsal abdomen of the adult has a lot of powdery white on the anterior and posterior segments with a darker band inbetween.

Here’s an update for this article (8 years later).

This is a series of photos of a T. tibicen tibicen as it gets darker in color (photo by Cicada Mania). This cicada will retain the green color in its eyes and pronotum, but its back will turn almost entirely black.

Teneral transition of a Tibicen tibicen tibicen cicada

August 3, 2014

Iván Jesús Torresano García’s Cicadas of Spain

Iván Jesús Torresano García send us a dozens of cicada photos from Spain, where he resides. According to Iván June is a peak time for cicadas in Spain. Cicadas common to the area are: Cicada orni, Lyristes (old Tibicen) plebejus, Tettigetta argentata, Hilapura varipes, Euryphara contentei (miniature), Tibicina tomentosa, and finally the brownish “Barbara Lusitanica Cicada”.

Four cicadas from Spain

Here are some of these cicadas captured by Iván.

Cicada orni:

Cicada orni is one of the most common cicadas in Spain and all of Europe. The are incredibly well camouflaged.

Tettigettalna argentata:

Hilaphura varipes:

Euryphara contentei:

For more information of the cicadas of Spain, visit Songs of European Singing Cicadas.

August 1, 2014

A teneral female Tibicen tibicen tibicen

Filed under: Tibicen — Tags: , — by @ 4:19 am

Earlier this week I was lucky enough to find a cicada nymph at a local park in Middletown, New Jersey. I took the cicada home, took some photos and then released it the next day. The cicada turned out to be a female Tibicen tibicen tibicen (formerly T. chloromera) aka a Swamp Cicada.


Teneral female Tibicen tibicen tibicen cicada


Teneral transition of a Tibicen tibicen tibicen cicada

July 28, 2014

Tibicen of the Day

Filed under: Tibicen — by @ 6:22 pm

Over on Facebook and Twitter I’ve been doing a “Tibicen of the Day” series of posts, as it is summer in North America, when Tibicen are active.

We’re counting down to end of the Dog Days of Summer when the star Sirius first makes it’s appearance in the pre-dawn sky, which happens around August 11th. Here is a tool to figure out when Sirius will rise in your area. Update! we reached the 11th and we’re going to keep going!

For folks who aren’t on FB or Twitter, here are the Tibicen of the Day so far:

Last post: this is a list of all Tibicen north of Mexico. This is the final Tibicen of the Day post…

August 17: Photos of a Tibicen canicularis. Tiny with brown eyes.

August 16: Tibicen auriferus (Say, 1825) aka the Plains Dog-day Cicada.

August 15: Tibicen resh (Haldeman, 1852) aka the Resh Cicada.

August 15: Tibicen resonans (Walker, 1850) aka Southern Resonant/Great Pine Barrens Cicada.

August 14: Tibicen lyricen engelhardti aka the Dark Lyric Cicada.

August 13: Tibicen figuratus (Walker, 1858) aka the Fall Southeastern Dusk-singing Cicada.

August 12: Tibicen duryi Davis, 1917.

August 11: Tibicen canicularis, the Dog Day cicada.

August 7: Tibicen davisi davisi (Smith and Grossbeck, 1907) aka Davis’ Southeastern Dog-Day Cicada.

August 6: Tibicen dealbatus (Davis, 1915) aka “What’s the deal, with dealbatus”.

August 5: Tibicen dorsatus (Say, 1825) aka Grand Western or Giant Grassland Cicada.

August 4: Tibicen tremulus Cole, 2008 aka Bush Cicada.

August 1: Tibicen pronotalis walkeri Metcalf, 1955 (formerly Tibicen marginalis) aka Walker’s cicada.

July 31: Tibicen latifasciatus (Davis, 1915) aka the Coastal Scissor(s) Grinder Cicada.

July 30: Tibicen pruinosus pruinosus (Say, 1825) aka Scissor(s) Grinder.

July 29: Tibicen winnemanna (Davis, 1912) aka Eastern Scissor(s) Grinder cicada.

July 28: Tibicen linnei (Smith and Grossbeck, 1907) aka Linne’s cicada.

July 28: BONUS! Cicada Killer Wasps.

July 25th: Tibicen tibicen tibicen (Linnaeus, 1758) aka Tibicen chloromera aka the Swamp cicada.

Bonus: a video of a Swamp Cicada calling by Elias Bonaros.

July 24th: Tibicen auletes (Germar, 1834) aka the Northern Dusk Singing Cicada.

July 23rd: Tibicen lyricen lyricen (De Geer, 1773) aka the Lyric Cicada.

Bonus: T. auletes exuvia:

July 22nd: Tibicen superbus (Fitch, 1855) aka the Superb Cicada.

July 23, 2014

Platypedia, the Fisherman’s Friend

Filed under: Platypedia — by @ 4:24 am

Cicadas that belong to the genus Platypedia are a fisherman’s friend. They emerge in large numbers near streams and stimulate fish feeding frenzies. May to June seem to be the best time to witness these “hatches”.

Platypedia are unique in that they lack the organs called tymbals, which most cicadas use to make their song. Platypedia create their sound by rapidly moving their wings. Some describe the sound as cracking or popping, but the correct term is crepitation. Many species of cicadas communicate using their wings as well as tymbals, but Platypedia only use their wings.

Platypedia putnami, aka Putnam’s Cicada, is the best known of the Platypedia genus. They are black with orange highlights. The can be found in most states and provinces from the Pacific Ocean to the Rocky Mountains, from Arizona, north to British Columbia.

Platypedia look similar to Okanagana, but there are key differences: 1) Platypedia have more slender abdomens, probably due to the lack of tymbals and no need to resonate a song, 2) Platypedia tend to have a marking in the middle of the pronotum (the area behind their eyes), 3) Platypedia are hairier, and of course 4) Platypedia do not sing, they snap, crackle and pop.

Watch these videos to see and hear these unique cicadas:

Additional reading:

Davis, W.T. Two ways of song communication among our North American cicadas. J. New York Entomol. Soc. 1943, 51, 185–190. Get it on the North American Cicada Site.

Sanborn, A and Phillips, P Biogeography of the Cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) of North America, North of Mexico Diversity 2013, 5, 166-239. Get it here (PDF).

July 19, 2014

A Diceroprocta apache (Davis, 1921) from Las Vegas

Filed under: Diceroprocta — Tags: — by @ 3:11 pm

One cool thing about being a cicada fan is your friends will send you cicadas from their part of the world. This male Diceroprocta apache cicada is courtesy of my friend Shannon, who lives in Las Vegas, NV. They’re out in large numbers from June to July.

Dorsal view of a male Diceroprocta apache from Las Vegas, NV.

Ventral view of a male Diceroprocta apache from Las Vegas, NV.

Diceroprocta apache, aka the Citrus cicada, is the only member of the Diceroprocta genus that lives in Nevada. It can also be found in Arizona, California, Colorado and Utah.

Here is a playlist of YouTube videos to watch if you want to hear what they sound and look like when they’re still alive:

If you’re in Las Vegas and hear an electrical buzzing sound, it might be a Citrus cicada.

July 17, 2014

A Week of Mapping the Mysterious Ohio Kentucky Brood

Update: After emailing with Dave Marshall and John Cooley today (July, 17th), I learned that the ‘decim cicadas in this brood are Magicicada tredecim (not neotredecim), based on their lower-pitched sound and very-orange abdomens! This means that this brood is not related to Brood XIV or X at all, that these cicadas are truly 13-year cicadas, they might be related to Brood XXII and perhaps were once part of the same larger brood thousands of years ago.

Read on:

Back in 2013 Roy Troutman and his wife Michelle visited me in New Jersey to experience the Brood II cicada emergence. At that time, Roy extended an invitation to visit Ohio in 2014 to experience & map a mysterious brood that emerges every thirteen years near his family campsite. A year later, I took him up on his offer.

Magicicada tredecim Ohio 2014 caught by Roy Troutman
A very orange M. tredecim found by Roy in Ohio.

On June 1st I made the long drive from the Jersey Shore to south-west Ohio. The trip went smoothly, thanks to a well maintained car, a flash drive filled with 37 Gig of music, Red Bull, Monster Energy Drinks, some M&M candies and a tank and a half of gas. Sunday night I met Roy at his family home. After a quick dinner, we immediately went looking for cicadas in Point Pleasant, Ohio. Most of the cicadas had emerged from the ground a week or two ago, but we were able to find a few newly emerged specimens:

The following morning we visited the Crooked Run-Robert J. Paul Memorial Sanctuary in Chilo, Ohio, which is primarily a hardwood forrest along the Ohio River. The nature sanctuary was loaded with Magicicada tredecassini, healthy pockets of M. tredecula and a few M. tredecim. The cicadas were chorusing, feisty and already ovipositing (laying eggs).

So, why spend a week researching cicadas? Why ride in a car for dozens of hours tracking the locations of cicadas? Well, this mysterious Ohio & Kentucky brood is unique, and this would be the first time it was thoroughly mapped.

Why is this Ohio Kentucky brood unique?

  1. These cicadas have a 13-year life cycle. No other brood of periodical cicadas in Ohio has a 13-year life cycle. Note that two 13-year broods (XIX & XXIII) exist in Kentucky, but they are geographically isolated from the OH/KY brood.
  2. The OH/KY brood is also geographically isolated from Brood XXII, a brood of 13-year cicadas that emerged in Louisiana and Mississippi this year (2014). The OH/KY brood might be grouped with Brood XXII just by virtue of the fact that they emerge in the same cycle of years, but the two broods seem to be too far apart, geographically and probably genetically, to be related.
  3. They occupy a relatively small area of south-western Ohio, and north-central Kentucky.
  4. They are in relatively the same area as two 17-year broods, Brood XIV and Brood X. Brood XIV more so than Brood X.

The mystery is: why does this small, isolated brood of 13-year cicadas exist?

Roy Troutman and John Cooley have collected specimens, and the insects genetics will be studied to try to find an answer. Along with the results of genetic testing, the results of mapping will be considered, along with the past work of researchers like Lloyd and White, and local legend Gene Kritsky.

Mapping cicadas:

Mapping cicadas requires that you drive hundreds to thousands of miles, listening for cicadas, and recording the species and location. The hard parts are 1) picking out the individual species (particularly hearing individual deculas in the midst of loud chorus of cassini), and 2) driving slow enough to hear the individual species, without enraging local drivers. Discerning the songs of individual species is easy enough when you’re moving slowly or standing still, but at 55mph, you can hear the roar of a cassini chorus, but a more subtle ‘decim chorus, set deeper in the woods, will go unheard.

Thanks to John Cooley’s Map O Matic — a combination of a tiny laptop, Ubuntu Linux, a numeric keypad, a GPS puck, and some clever programming — marking the locations of Magicicada species is now a simple task. Drive around, and when you hear a heavy ‘decim chorus, you hit the 9 key, and the location is recorded. Hear a ‘cassini individual; hit a 4, and the location is recorded. Genius. I suppose the next best thing would be an app version.

cicada track o matic
The Cicada Map O Matic

Each day Roy planned the route and we started mapping. Roy driving; me pressing buttons. We traveled highways, and single-laned roads; through heavily populated suburbia with convenience stores selling Pork cracklings and fireworks, as well as, farm and forrest roads. Straight and fast. Winding and bumpy. Each day was amazing road trip for the sake of cicada research.

Mapping can be frustrating. Time limitations are frustrating. The cicadas only sing for a few weeks, so there is only so much time to hear and map them.

Google Maps, often used to visualize cicada mapping data, is frustrating as well. Google maps omits unincorporated towns and villages from their maps. Want to find Utopia, Ohio on Google Maps? According to Google Maps, it doesn’t exist.

Also, if you use an old map, beware; a road that existed 10 years ago, might now be a rocky field. One time we headed down a dusty road that looked like it connected to a major county road. Instead, Roy ended up breaking some part of his car on some bowling ball sized rocks, which I had to get out and move so we could backtrack to civilization. One positive: while rolling boulders, I heard an individual Magicicada tredecim, which are rare in this brood. Hit the 7 on the cicada Map O Matic.

The data from all this cicada mapping will be used by cicada researchers like Gene Kritsky and John Cooley to decode the mystery of this brood. If you’re curious, you can see the map here, or take a look at this short video, which crudely demonstrates the geographic proximity of Brood XIV, the OH/KY Brood and Brood X:

My trip to Ohio and Kentucky, was fantastic. I got to spend dozens of hours helping to map an important brood, hang out with a good friend, and even meet cicada research legend Gene Kritsky for breakfast. For a cicada fanatic, it doesn’t get much better.

M tredecassini Kentucky 2014
A Magicicada tredecassini found in Kincaid Park, Kentucky.

I had such a good time, I headed home via Kentucky (which is not the way to go, if you’re going back to New Jersey). I stopped by Kincaid Park so I could hear all three species in one location. I even drove down the shoe road, and visited the Jim Beam distillery (which has little to do with cicadas, but why not).

After spending a week mapping cicadas, my respect for cicada researchers like Gene, John, Roy, Chris Simon, David Marshall and Jin Yoshimura has grown measurably. Mapping is not easy. It takes concentration, patience, a lot of expensive gasoline, and energy drinks. It’s worth it though. Hopefully I’ll get to do it again next year as well.

June 19, 2014

Brood XXII, the Baton Rouge Brood, will arrive in 2014

Filed under: Brood XXII,Magicicada,Periodical — by @ 12:26 am

Magicicada Brood XXII, the Baton Rouge Brood, has started to emerge in Louisiana and Mississippi.

Update June 19: Signs of flagging from cicada egg laying are showing up.

Update (5/23): with folks reporting in from both Louisiana and Mississippi, it’s fair to say the emergence is in full swing. Go out and enjoy them while they’re still around.

Update (5/13): we’ve heard the first report that the cicadas have started singing! In Denham Springs, at least.

Update (5/5): the first confirmed Magicicada exuvia (shells/skins) have been found, as reported by Dave Marshall. It’s been a slow start thanks to a cold spring and cool soil temperatures.

Update (4/26): the first sightings have appeared on Magicicada.org. If you see (or heard) one of these cicadas, report it. And then share it via Twitter, YouTube, Flickr or Facebook so we can all check it out.

Some Brood XXII facts:

  • Brood XXII Magicicadas have a 13-year life cycle.
  • Three of the four 13-year Magicicada species, M. tredecim, M. tredecassini, and M. tredecula, belong to Brood XXII.
  • The last time Brood XXII emerged was 2001.
  • We received reports from Baton Rouge, LA, Houma, LA, Pride, LA, Weyanoke, LA, Vicksburg, MS and Natchez, MS in 2001


View Brood XXII Cicada Reports from 2001 in a larger map

Looking at the Cicada Central Magicicada Database:

  • The following parishes in Louisiana will surely experience the Brood XXII emergence: Catahoula, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, West Feliciana. There are also literature records (typically older, and not substantiated by recent evidence) that the cicadas will appear in La Salle, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington parishes.
  • In Mississippi, Brood XXII should emerge in Adams, Amite, Claiborne, Hinds, Jefferson, Warren and Wilkinson counties, with literature records for Franklin county.

A lot of folks ask if they will appear in Orleans parish, but I haven’t seen evidence for that. However, there is no reason why you couldn’t start looking there, have some gumbo and fancy drinks, and then head north towards Baton Rouge.

These cicadas often appear where they aren’t expected, and are absent where they are expected. So, keep an eye and ear out for them, but don’t be too disappointed if they don’t show up in your town.

June 18, 2014

Brood III, The Iowan Brood, Will Emerge in 2014

Filed under: Brood III,Magicicada,Periodical — by @ 1:03 am

Magicicada Brood III (3), the Iowan Brood, will emerge in Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri, in the spring of 2014.

Update for 6/18: It has been great to see so many people are enjoying the emergence. I bolded the names of the counties below, where people have reported emergences in the comments.

Update for 5/31: Cicadas have been reported in Dallas, Union, and Warren counties in Iowa, and Mercer county in Missouri.

Update for 5/30: Greg Holmes reported on the Entomological-Cicadidae Yahoo Group that Donald Lewis, entomologist at Iowa State University, has a report of periodical cicadas from north of Burlington, IA. With air temperatures in the mid 80s for the next 6 days, the soil should be warm enough to coax more cicadas from the ground. Rain may slow the emergence, though.

Some Brood III facts:

  • Brood III Magicicadas have a 17-year life cycle.
  • The last time Brood III emerged was 1997.
  • All three 17-year species will emerge: M. septendecim, M. cassini, and M. septendecula.

Brood III Map - next emergence 2014

Looking a the Cicada Central Magicicada Database:

  • Iowa will likely experience Brood III in Appanoose, Boone, Decatur, Des Moines, Hamilton, Henry, Lee, Louisa, Lucas, Mahaska, Van Buren, Washington counties.
  • There are literature records (typically older, and not substantiated by recent evidence) that the cicadas will also emerge in the counties: Adair, Adams, Audubon, Cass, Cedar, Davis, Greene, Guthrie, Iowa, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Keokuk, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Monroe, Muscatine, Polk, Poweshiek, Ringgold, Story, Taylor, Union, Wapello, Warren, Wayne and Webster.
  • Plus reports from Clarke, Dallas County!
  • Missouri literature records: Adair, Harrison, Harrison, Henry, Johnson, Lewis, Macon, Marion, Platte, Putnam,Vernon
  • Illinois: Adams, Brown, Cass, Fulton, Hancock, Henderson, Knox, McDonough, Peoria, Pike, Schuyler, Warren, and maybe (literature records) Champaign, Greene, and Mason.

June 16, 2014

Got Flagging? Report flagging and egg nests.

Filed under: Citizen Science,Magicicada,Periodical — by @ 7:33 pm

Got flagging? Flagging happens when tree branches wilt or die due to cicada egg laying, resulting in bunches of brown leaves. Don’t worry, this will not cause trees to die, unless they are small and weak trees. Flagging can actually do a tree a favor, by removing its weakest branches.

Note: the Magicicada.org report page is closed for the season but will open again for future emergences.

Flagging

Some video of cicada flagging:

A photo of flagging:

Periodical Cicada Flagging 3

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