Cicada Mania

Dedicated to cicadas, the most amazing insects in the world.

Buy a Cicada T-shirt, Mug, or Hat!

April 30, 2016

64 Degrees Fahrenheit Eight Inches Deep

Filed under: James Edward Heath,Magicicada,Periodical — Dan @ 1:22 am

hot under the exoskeleton

Soil temperature triggers periodical cicada emergences:

James Edward Heath in his paper Thermal Synchronization of Emergence in Periodical “17-year” Cicadas (Homoptera, Cicadidae, Magicicada)1 discovered that periodical cicadas will emerge, on average, when the soil 8 inches below the ground reaches 64 degrees Fahrenheit:

Soil temperature at 20-cm [7.87 in] depth in seven locations averaged 17.89 C [64.202 F] at the time of emergence, regardless of date. Cicadas emerging from burrows had average body temperatures of 18.04 C [64.472 F]. Synchrony in emergence may be due to animals reaching a critical threshold temperature.

The soil warms their bodies and that triggers the cicadas to emerge.

A warm rain, which will seep into the earth and warm the bodies of cicadas, can trigger a “particularly intensive” emergence.

Alexander and Moore (1962) noted that emergences were par- ticularly intensive following warm rains ( > 2 0 C ? ). I believe this suggests that the soil temperature probably was near emergence tem- perature and the heat transported by the water percolating into the ground warmed the soil sufficiently to raise soil temperature above the emergence threshold.

Some unanswered questions I have are: 1) how long does the temperature have to be 64°F+ – just a moment, or a certain number of hours, and 2) because we know not all cicadas emerge instantaneously, what is the maximum temperature that for certain will clear them from the soil?

This is an example of a temperature probe use to study the emergence temperature of cicadas. The probe in this picture is held by cicada researcher Gene Kritsky:
Temperature probe

Note that males typically emerge before females, and that the larger ‘decim species emerge before the smaller cassini species.

For a more modern, crowd-sourced study of this see the radiolab Cicada Tracker project.

I think I know what you’re thinking: “I don’t own a temperature probe, how can I guess when the temperature is 64°F 8” below the soil? Direct sunlight, air temperature and rain warms the soil. Southern facing land will warm sooner than northern facing land. Land in direct sunlight will warm faster than land in shade. Rainfall on a 80°+ day will quickly do the trick, but two weeks of temps in the 70°’s should work as well. So keep an eye on the 10-day weather forecast and watch for those days in the 70s, and especially the 80s.

Minimum Flight Temperature:
Their body temperature needs to be a little warmer than that to fly. Their minimum flight temperature (MFT) is 18-21°C / 65-70°F. The temperature varies depending on the Brood and species. They’ll need a few more degrees before they’re fully functional, and start singing and mating.

So, until their bodies are about 72°F (“room temperature”) they won’t be flying, singing and mating.

Maximum voluntary tolerance temperature:
Maximum voluntary tolerance temperature (MVT) for periodical cicadas is 31-34°C / 88-93°F, again depending on Brood and species. Maximum voluntary tolerance is the point at which cicadas seek shade and when thermoregulation takes precedence over other behaviors.

See Thermal responses of periodical cicadas: within and between brood parity (Hemiptera: Cicadidae: Magicicada spp.) and Thermoregulation by Endogenous Heat Production in Two South American Grass Dwelling Cicadas (Homoptera: Cicadidae: Proarna) for more information.

1 Thermal Synchronization of Emergence in Periodical “17-year” Cicadas (Homoptera, Cicadidae, Magicicada) by James Edward Heath, American Midland Naturalist, Vol. 80, No. 2. (Oct., 1968), pp. 440-448.

April 27, 2016

Please use the correct imagery for 17 year cicadas

Filed under: Identify,Magicicada,Periodical,Video — Dan @ 1:01 am

If you’re writing an article about the coming emergence of the 17-year periodical cicadas, please use the correct genus & species of cicadas.

The genus of all 17 year cicadas is Magicicada, and they are never green. The three species of 17-year cicadas are M. septendecim, M. cassini, and M. septendecula. They’re all black with orange wings and legs and red eyes (some exceptions, but they’re never green).

An adult Magicicada septendecim by Dan Mozgai/cicadamania.com:

Brood II Magicicada septendecim

A newly emerged, teneral, Magicicada septendecim by Dan Mozgai/cicadamania.com:

Imagining Brood II Magicicada septendecim

A mating pair of Magicicada septendecim by Dan Mozgai/cicadamania.com:

A pair of mating Magicicada septendecims found in Woodbridge Township NJ

17-year cicada video:

A singing Magicicada septendecim:

Singing Magicicada septendecim from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

A Magicicada septendecim laying eggs:

Magicicada septendecim ovipositing from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

A Magicicada septendecim up close (deceased):

Close up of a tymbal of a Magicicada septendecim from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

Magicicada on a tree (mostly Magicicada cassini):

For the sake of cicada correctness, feel free to use them in your article. Just credit cicadamania.com.

More photos: All the Magicicada galleries on the site.

If you are looking to license Magicicada images or HD Video, Roy Troutman has plenty of both. Reach out to him if interested. His images and video are tagged throughout the site.

Hundreds of shed cicada skins (exuvia) by Troutman:

2014 Ohio Exuvia Pile by Roy Troutman

Wrong Cicadas:

If the cicada you use in your article is green, it isn’t a 17-year cicada. I repeat: if the cicada is green it is not a 17-year cicada.

The cicada at the top of the Wikipedia page for cicadas is not a 17-year cicada, it’s an annual cicada called Neotibicen linnei:

Tibicen linnei
(photo credit for this Neotibicen linnei).

The cicada shedding its skin on a roll of paper towel… that’s not a 17-year cicada either:

Wikipedia
(Photo Credits for the molting cicada).

Looking for people to speak at a conference or “cicadacon”?

Need a speaker for a Cicada Convention or a Periodical Cicada Event? Try these folks:

April 15, 2016

Brood V 17-Year Cicadas Due in Spring of 2016

Filed under: Brood V,Magicicada,Periodical — Dan @ 1:50 am

Brood V 2016Brood V (5) 17-year cicadas will emerge in the spring of 2016 in Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Latest Updates:
(4/27/16): many sightings of nymphs are appearing on the Magicicada.org map. Someone shared a photo on Facebook of a nymph probably dug up by a rodent, like a vole.

(4/22/16): the Report a Cicada Sighting form is up on Magicicada.org.

FYI: periodical cicadas will not emerge in 2016 in Baltimore, Washington D.C. and New York City.

(4/2/16): Cleveland Metroparks posted a photo of a Magicicada nymph close to the surface.

About Brood V:

The cicada species that will emerge are Magicicada cassinii (Fisher, 1852), Magicicada septendecim (Linnaeus, 1758), and Magicicada septendecula Alexander and Moore, 1962. These periodical cicadas have a 17-year life cycle. The last time they emerged was 1999.

When: Generally speaking, these cicadas will begin to emerge when the soil 8″ beneath the ground reaches 64 degrees Fahrenheit. A nice, warm rain will often trigger a emergence. So, definitely May, but something might happen in April if we have a particularly hot spring.

Locations where they are likely to emerge:

This data comes from the Cicada Central Magicicada Database and other sources.

Although the cicadas will emerge in MD, NY, OH, PA, VA and WV, the area is limited and patchy. No Brood V cicadas for D.C., Cincinnati, or NYC (people have asked). Their range is closer to this map (with cicadas in the orange areas):

Brood V range

Maryland:

Counties: Garrett.

New York:

Specific locations in L.I.:

  • Wildwood State Park (maybe not… TDB)

Counties: Suffolk (Long Island).

Ohio:

Specific locations in Ohio:

  • The emergence should be good in the south eastern part of the state and in Summit, Medina, and southern Cuyahoga counties1.
  • Hocking State Forest, Hocking county, which is where James Edward Heath performed his investigation of periodical cicada Thermal Synchronization2.
  • Tar Hollow State Forest, in Laurelville, Hocking County, Ohio.
  • Strouds Run State Park, in Canaan Township, Athens County.
  • Athens, Athens County, Ohio
  • Findley State Park, Lorain County, Ohio.

Counties: Ashland, Ashtabula, Athens, Belmont, Carroll, Columbiana, Coshocton, Crawford, Cuyahoga, Fairfield, Franklin, Gallia, Guernsey, Harrison, Hocking, Jackson, Jefferson, Knox, Lake, Lawrence, Licking, Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, Meigs, Muskingum, Noble, Ottawa, Perry, Pickaway, Pike, Portage, Richland, Ross, Scioto, Seneca, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Tuscarawas, Vinton, Washington, Wayne

Thanks to Roy Troutman, John Cooley, Chris Simon and Gene Kritsky for the tips!

Pennsylvania:

Counties:Allegheny, Fayette, Greene, Washington, Westmoreland

Virginia:

Specific locations in Virginia:

  • Douthat State Park, in Bath & Allegheny County Virginia.

Counties: Allegheny, Augusta, Bath, Highland, Richmond, Rockingham, Shenandoah

West Virginia:

Counties: Barbour, Boone, Braxton, Brooke, Cabell, Calhoun, Clay, Doddridge, Fayette, Gilmer, Grant, Greenbrier, Hampshire, Hancock, Hardy, Harrison, Jackson, Kanawha, Lewis, Marion, Marshall, Mason, Monongalia, Nicholas, Ohio, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Preston, Putnam, Raleigh, Randolph, Ritchie, Roane, Taylor, Tyler, Upshur, Webster, Wetzel, Wood

Learn more about Brood V:

Learn More:

Watch a cicada emerge from its skin

A whole lot of cicada nymphs

1 Kritsky, G., J. Smith, and N. T. Gallagher. 1999. The 1999 emergence of the periodical cicada in Ohio (Homoptera: Cicadidae: Magicicada spp. Brood V). Ohio Biological Survey Notes 2:43-47.

2 Thermal Synchronization of Emergence in Periodical “17-year” Cicadas (Homoptera, Cicadidae, Magicicada) by James Edward Heath, American Midland Naturalist, Vol. 80, No. 2. (Oct., 1968), pp. 440-448.

* The map is based on this map from the Wikimedia Commons by Lokal_Profil.

February 7, 2016

The Periodical Cicada Brood VII Revisited

Filed under: Brood VII,Magicicada,Periodical — Dan @ 9:22 pm

The Internet Archive has a lot of cicada documents and information, including a growing collection of articles from journals.

Today I came across a paper about Brood VII called The Periodical Cicada Brood vii Revisited (Homoptera, Cicadidae) by L. L. Pechuman, published in 1985 in the journal Entomology News (link to the article). Brood VII will be back in New York in 2018 (not too far away) so I’m glad I found this now. Brood VII is interesting because it is geographically isolated from other broods, near the Finger Lakes area of New York. This always makes me wonder what happened that led to their isolation (glacial melting, a massive die off of host trees… who knows).

The article is a quick, but melancholy read — unfortunately Brood VII is a small and dwindling brood; it has gone extinct in many areas, and has suffered over-predation by birds in recent emergences. “Populations were just not high enough to support ‘predator satiation'”, according to L. L. Pechuman.

People who witness massive periodical cicada emergences would never think that they were a fragile insect, but they are and papers like this make that fact abundantly clear.

December 4, 2015

New Zealand Cicada Information 🇳🇿

Filed under: Amphipsalta,David Marshall,Kathy Hill,New Zealand — Dan @ 8:39 pm

Old Map of New Zealand

There isn’t a lot of New Zealand cicada information on this website, but I wanted to point you to a few good resources if you are interested:

First, there’s the NEW ZEALAND CICADAS (HEMIPTERA: CICADIDAE): A VIRTUAL IDENTIFICATION GUIDE which features photographs and extensive information about the cicadas of New Zealand. The site has an abundance of information, and a wonderful design & layout.

Second, there’s Cicada Central’s New Zealand Cicada website, which features an electronic field guide of New Zealand Cicada Species, a specimen database, and a photo gallery featuring Kikihia, Amphipsaltas and Maoricicada.

I asked David Marshall of InsectSingers.com, “when does New Zealand cicada season start and end?” His answer essentially is that it depends on the location, elevation and species, but the best months are between December and April. Interestingly, in certain locations K. muta sing every month of the year.

David also mentioned the Amphipsalta zelandica (Feb-March) which calls using wing-clicks! Here is a video.

Chorus Cicada at Punakaiki

Read the downloadable article Chorus Cicada, Amphipsalta zelandica (Boisduval), males calling with only wing-clicks by Kathy B. R. Hill, The Weta (2012) 43(1): 15–20, for more information.

Update: here’s some Google trends data. More people search for cicada & cicadas in February in New Zealand.

December 2, 2015

The Smaller Neotibicen

Filed under: Identify,Neotibicen,Tibicen — Dan @ 10:32 pm

This is my third, and possibly final, article on identifying Neotibicen, using the information on this website. Read the other articles, Identifying Neotibicen and Large Neotibicen.

Identifying the smaller Neotibicen is no easy task — with two exceptions.

The two easy ones are:

1) Neotibicen superbus, aka the Superb Cicada, because it looks like no other cicada in this group. It is pea green with bright yellow arches on its mesonotum. No other Neotibicen shares that coloration. No other cicada in the group sounds quite like it either.

Superb Cicada
Photo by Sloan Childers.

2) Neotibicen latifasciatus, aka Coastal Scissors Grinder Cicada, because it has a white X (pruinose) on its back. Otherwise, it looks like four other cicadas, kinda like four more, and sounds like three others.

While I’ve never heard an actual scissor being sharpened with a grinder, it must sound like the repetitive, rhythmic, short grinding sounds like cicada makes. Grind, Grind, Grind, Grind.

Neotibicen latifasciatus
Photo by me of Bill Reynolds’ collection.

The rest of the small Neotibicen closely resemble each other enough to make many scratch their heads in wonder. BugGuide.net organizes these cicadas into four groups4: the “Green Tibicen Species” (Tibicen is the old genus name for these cicadas), “Southern Dog-day Cicadas”, “Swamp Cicadas”/”The chloromerus Group”, and the “Lyric Cicadas”/”The lyricen Group”. I’ll use these groups for this article for consistency sake. These groups are also closely related genetically1, although Neotibicen similaris, which BugGuide puts under “Southern Dog-day Cicadas”, is a bit of an outlier1. Tables below might be a bit overwhelming — but they help to accurately align the similarities between these cicadas.

As you browse this page, if you click the cicada’s name you’ll be brought to a page that features more information about that cicada, including sound files, location information, links to other websites, and often more photos and video. When in doubt: visit the BugGuide Dog Day Cicada page.

The Green Neotibicen

These Neotibicen all share green markings on their pronotum, mesonotum, and pronotal collars. Find a Neotibicen with a green collar, and there’s a good chance it is one of these. As you can see, these insects are well camouflaged for an adult life in trees.

Green Neotibicen
Photo credits l to r: Roy Trountman, Tom Lehmkuhl , Paul Krombholz, me.

Cicada Sounds Like Looks Like Looks Kind of Like
N. canicularis (Harris, 1841) aka Dog-day Cicada

The canicularis varies the most in terms of coloration. Some are very dark, with more black than green, and others have an even amount of green and black.
Sounds like an angle grinder tool grinding something.
N. auriferus
N. davisi davisi
N. davisi harnedi
N. auriferus
N. davisi davisi
N. davisi harnedi
N. latifasciatus
N. linnei
N. pruinosus pruinosus
N. robinsonianus
N. winnemanna
N. latifasciatus (Davis, 1915) aka Coastal Scissor(s) Grinder Cicada

If the cicada has a white X on its back, it is a latifasciatus.
Repetitive, rhythmic, call – like someone repeatedly running a scissor over a grinding wheel (I suppose).
N. pruinosus fulvus
N. pruinosus pruinosus
N. winnemanna
N. linnei
N. pruinosus pruinosus
N. robinsonianus
N. winnemanna
N. auriferus
N. canicularis
N. davisi davisi
N. davisi harnedi
N. linnei (Smith and Grossbeck, 1907) aka Linne’s Cicada

Known for the bend of their wing.

Linne’s cicada’s call builds up — a crescendo — peaks, and then fades back down.
N. tibicen australis
N. tibicen tibicen

It sounds like the N. tibicen species, but unlike them, it calls from high in the trees.
N. latifasciatus
N. pruinosus pruinosus
N. robinsonianus
N. winnemanna
N. auriferus
N. canicularis
N. davisi davisi
N. davisi harnedi
N. pruinosus fulvus Beamer, 1924 aka Yellow morph of Scissor Grinder.

This cicada should look like the other cicadas in this table, but its coloring is more yellow than green, like a teneral Scissor Grinder.
N. latifasciatus
N. pruinosus pruinosus
N. winnemanna
N. pruinosus pruinosus (Say, 1825) aka Scissor(s) Grinder

The Scissor Grinder looks a lot like Linne’s Cicada but their wing doesn’t have bend that Linne’s Cicada has. The Scissor Grinder also seems to have more of an orange coloration to the “arches” on its mesonotum.
Its call is like N. latifasciatus, but it is faster paced.
N. latifasciatus
N. pruinosus fulvus
N. winnemanna
N. latifasciatus
N. linnei
N. robinsonianus
N. winnemanna

N. auriferus
N. canicularis
N. davisi davisi
N. davisi harnedi
N. robinsonianus Davis, 1922 aka Robinson’s Annual Cicada or Robinson’s Cicada

Robinson’s Cicada looks like Linne’s Cicada with less of a wing bend, and a different call.
Its call is kind of like N. latifasciatus, but much more raspy.
N. latifasciatus
N. linnei
N. pruinosus pruinosus
N. winnemanna

N. auriferus
N. canicularis
N. davisi davisi
N. davisi harnedi
N. winnemanna (Davis, 1912) aka Eastern Scissor(s) Grinder

Like the Scissor Grinder, the Eastern Scissor Grinder seems to have more of an orange hue to the arches on its mesonotum, perhaps even more so than the Scissor Grinder.
Its call is similar to the Scissor Grinder.
N. latifasciatus
N. pruinosus fulvus
N. pruinosus pruinosus
N. latifasciatus
N. linnei
N. pruinosus pruinosus
N. robinsonianus
N. auriferus
N. canicularis
N. davisi davisi
N. davisi harnedi


Neotibicen canicularis (Green Group) and Neotibicen davisi (Southern Dog Day Group) compared. Photo by Paul Krombholz

Southern Dog Day

Cicada Sounds Like Looks Like Looks Kind of Like
N. auriferus (Germar, 1834) aka Plains Dog-day Cicada

Coloration varies from rusty browns to greens.
Sounds like an angle grinder tool grinding something.
N. canicularis
N. davisi davisi
N. davisi harnedi
N. davisi davisi
N. davisi harnedi
N. canicularis
N. latifasciatus
N. linnei
N. pruinosus pruinosus
N. robinsonianus
N. winnemanna
N. davisi davisi (Smith and Grossbeck, 1907) aka Davis’ Southeastern Dog-Day Cicada

The davisi comes in a wide variety of colors: from rusty browns to greens.
Sounds like an angle grinder tool grinding something.
N. auriferus
N. canicularis
N. davisi harnedi
N. auriferus
N. davisi harnedi
N. canicularis
N. latifasciatus
N. linnei
N. pruinosus pruinosus
N. robinsonianus
N. winnemanna
N. davisi harnedi Davis, 1918

Looks like Davis’ Southeastern Dog-Day Cicada but with slight differences in the wings.
Sounds like an angle grinder tool grinding something.
N. auriferus
N. canicularis
N. davisi davisi
N. auriferus
N. davisi davisi

N. canicularis
N. latifasciatus
N. linnei
N. pruinosus pruinosus
N. robinsonianus
N. winnemanna
N. superbus (Fitch, 1855) aka Superb Dog-Day Cicada

This cicada is the most unique looking: solid green with prominent yellow arches on its back.
Its call is so unique, you’ll have to listen to it and decide what it sounds like.
N. similaris (Smith and Grossbeck, 1907) aka Similar Dog-Day Cicada

This cicada is similar to the Neotibicen tibicen species in shape (hump back) and coloring.
N. tibicen tibicen

Swamp Cicadas

Swamp Cicadas are often the easiest cicadas to find, because they prefer to stay in the lower branches of trees. Listen for one, and you’ll likely be able to spot it in the tree above you.

Cicada Sounds Like Looks Like Looks Kind of Like
N. tibicen tibicen (Linnaeus, 1758) aka Swamp Cicada

Swamp Cicadas are are known for their rounded, humped back. Their coloration varies from mostly black & some green to black, brown and green. Their collar is usually black, but can include green.
Its call builds up — a crescendo — peaks, and then fizzles out.
N. linnei
N. tibicen australis
N. tibicen australis N. similaris
N. tibicen australis (Davis, 1912) aka Southern Swamp Cicada

Southern Swamp Cicadas look like Swamp Cicadas, but they are more colorful. Their collars are often green & black.
Its call builds up — a crescendo — peaks, and then fizzles out.
N. linnei
N. tibicen tibicen
N. tibicen tibicen N. similaris

Lyric Cicada and Swamp Cicada compared
Top: Swamp Cicada; Bottom: Lyric Cicada. Note the more rounded shape of the Swamp Cicada’s mesonotum. Photo by me.

Lyric Cicadas

The Lyric Cicadas all look physically similar, but their coloration is unique enough to tell them apart. They usually have brown/black collars, which makes it easy to tell them apart from the “Green” Neotibicen. They also resemble the Swamp Cicadas, but Lyric cicadas have flatter mesonotums, and Swamp Cicadas are less likely to have black collars.

Dark Lyric Cicada
Dark Lyric Cicada. Photo by Roy Troutman.

 Lyric Cicada
Lyric Cicada. Photo by me.

Cicada Sounds Like Looks Like Looks Kind of Like
N. lyricen engelhardt (Davis, 1910) aka Dark Lyric Cicada

The Dark Lyric Cicadas have the darkest coloration of all the Lyric cicadas. Their mesonotum is almost entirely dark brown/black. They have a “soda-pop pull-tab” or keyhole shape on their pronotum.
Its sound is like an angle grinder tool steadily grinding a slightly uneven surface.
N. lyricen lyricen
N. lyricen virescens
N. tibicen tibicen
N. lyricen lyricen
N. lyricen virescens
N. lyricen lyricen (De Geer, 1773) aka Lyric Cicada

The Lyric cicada, like most small Neotibicen, has a green, black & brown camouflage look, but the key is Lyric cicadas typically have black collars.
Its sound is like an angle grinder tool steadily grinding a slightly uneven surface.
N. lyricen engelhardti
N. lyricen virescens
N. tibicen tibicen
N. lyricen engelhardti
N. lyricen virescens
N. lyricen virescens Davis, 1935 aka Costal Lyric Cicada

The Costal Lyric cicadas can be distinguished from other Lyric cicadas by their vibrant turquoise-green colors.
Its sound is like an angle grinder tool steadily grinding a slightly uneven surface.
N. lyricen engelhardti
N. lyricen lyricen
N. tibicen tibicen
N. lyricen engelhardti
N. lyricen virescens

1Molecular phylogenetics, diversification, and systematics of Tibicen Latreille 1825 and allied cicadas of the tribe Cryptotympanini, with three new genera and emphasis on species from the USA and Canada (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha: Cicadidae) by Kathy B. R. Hill, David C. Marshall, Maxwell S. Moulds & Chris Simon. 2015, Zootaxa 3985 (2): 219–251. Link to PDF.

3 Cicadas of the United States and Canada East of the 100th Meridian.

4BudGuide.net’s Dog Day Cicadas Page.

###

I will update & augment this article over time.

For more information about these cicadas, visit the North American Cicadas page and our U.S.A. & Cicada Search Page

November 29, 2015

The Large Neotibicen

Filed under: Identify,Neotibicen,Tibicen — Dan @ 6:45 pm

One way to simplify the identification of Neotibicen is to categorize them into large and small Neotibicen. The physically larger Neotibicen are closely genetically related 1, as well as being physically larger. BugGude.net breaks this group into three categories: “the auletes group” (N. auletes, N. resh, N. resonans, N. figuratus), “the pronotalis group” (N. dealbatus, N. pronotalis, N. cultriformis) and “the dorsatus group” (N. dorsatus, N. tremulus)2.

Tibicens of the Eastern USA
Large Neotibicen cicadas are arranged along the top row in this photo by cicada researcher Kathy Hill. Note the “T.” in their names stands for the older genus name “Tibicen”.

Let’s compare them based on their visual and audio characteristics.

4 Cicadas Compared
Photo credits l to r: Paul Krombholz, me (from Bill Reynolds’ collection), Paul Krombholz, Joe Green.

Click the names of the cicadas to listen to their songs, find their geographic range, and to see more images and video.

Cicada Sounds Like Looks Like Notes
Neotibicen auletes (Germar, 1834)
aka Northern Dusk Singing Cicada
N. resh, N. resonans, N. figuratus Largest Neotibicen; olive to tan, brown, black & white pruinosity. No distinct markings. Sings at dusk.
Neotibicen resh (Haldeman, 1852)
aka Resh Cicada
N. auletes, N. resonans, N. figuratus Smaller green Neotibicen Distinctive resh (ר) markings on mesontum. Its call is like a sped-up, shorter version of N. auletes’ call.
Neotibicen resonans (Walker, 1850)
aka Southern Resonant/Great Pine Barrens Cicada
N. auletes, N. resh, N. figuratus N. figuratus Brown, black & white pruinosity distinctively present within curves of the cruciform elevation Its call is like a bland version of the N. resh call.
Neotibicen figuratus (Walker, 1858)
aka Fall Southeastern Dusk-singing Cicada
N. auletes, N. resh, N. resonans N. resonans Brown, black & with pruinosity. Its call has more character than N. figuratus, but is not as sonically impressive as N. auletes.

3 more cicadas
Photo credits l to r: Roy Troutman, me (from Bill Reynolds’ collection), Bill Lesar.

Cicada Sounds Like Looks Like Notes
Neotibicen dealbatus (Davis, 1915) N. pronotalis walkeri, N. pronotalis pronotalis Orange form looks like N. dorsatus & tremulus, but “stripes” on abdomen of dealbatus are unique. Primarily either orange/rust or pea green, brown, black with heavy pruninosity which forms distinct markings on dorsal side of body. Dorsal side has two black stripes framed by three areas of pruinosity.
Neotibicen pronotalis pronotalis Davis, 1938 N. dealbatus, N. pronotalis walkeri N. pronotalis pronotalis Tan or pea green, brown, black, and sometimes white pruinose. Wing color matches dominant color of body. Often features a black marking on pronotum3.
Neotibicen pronotalis walkeri Metcalf, 1955
aka Walker’s Cicada
N. dealbatus, N. pronotalis pronotalis N. pronotalis walkeri Tan or pea green, brown, black, and sometimes white pruinose. Wing color matches dominant color of body. Typically lacks a black marking on its pronotum.
Neotibicen cultriformis (Davis, 1915)
aka Grand Western Flood Plain Cicada
Orange/rust, black & pruinosity on head & body. Wings are green! Found only in Arizona and New Mexico.
Neotibicen dorsatus (Say, 1825)
aka Bush Cicada or Grand Western or Giant Grassland Cicada
N. tremulus N. tremulus, the Orange form of N. dealbatus (although tremulus lacks pruinose “stripes”) Rust/orange, black & white pruinosity, which forms distinct markings, such as a line of white dots down the dorsal side of the abdomen.
Neotibicen tremulus Cole, 2008
aka Bush Cicada
N. dorsatus N. dorsatus, the Orange form of N. dealbatus (although tremulus lacks pruinose “stripes”). Rust/orange, black & white pruinosity, which forms distinct markings, such as a line of white dots down the dorsal side of the abdomen. The pitch of the tremulus’ call is different than dorsatus, which is one way to tell them apart.

I will update this page over time to clarify & improve the information. I hope it helps.

1 Molecular phylogenetics, diversification, and systematics of Tibicen Latreille 1825 and allied cicadas of the tribe Cryptotympanini, with three new genera and emphasis on species from the USA and Canada (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha: Cicadidae) by Kathy B. R. Hill, David C. Marshall, Maxwell S. Moulds & Chris Simon. 2015, Zootaxa 3985 (2): 219–251. Link to PDF.

2 Species Neotibicen auletes http://bugguide.net/node/view/6968.

3 Cicadas of the United States and Canada
East of the 100th Meridian http://insectsingers.com/100th_meridian_cicadas/index.html.

November 23, 2015

Identifying Neotibicen

Filed under: Identify,Neotibicen,Tibicen — Dan @ 8:12 pm

Identifying cicadas can be quite challenging, especially cicadas belonging to the Neotibicen genus. Different Neotibicen species often look and sound alike, and it takes a lot of practice before one gets good at identifying them. I only know 5 or 6 people in the world that I would trust to tell a Neotibicen winnemanna from a Neotibicen pruinosus, for example, because their songs and visual appearance are so similar.

In this article, I will first point out various sources where to you learn about the different Neotibicen species. Then I will discuss basic terminogy used when describing cicadas. Last, I will discuss some challenges with identifying them. Subsequent articles will discuss the specific species and subspecies.

Resources

The best sources for identifying Neotibicen, IMHO, are:

  • Insect Singers for audio recordings of cicada songs.
  • The work of Bill Reynolds and others on BugGuide.net, for example, the Info page for N. pruinosus. BugGuide is particularly useful for getting a cicada identified — you upload a photo, and they identify it. You can also try to figure it out yourself by browsing their catalog of images.
  • The recent paper Molecular phylogenetics, diversification, and systematics of Tibicen Latreille 1825 and allied cicadas of the tribe Cryptotympanini, with three new genera and emphasis on species from the USA and Canada (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha: Cicadidae) by Kathy B. R. Hill, David C. Marshall, Maxwell S. Moulds & Chris Simon. 2015, Zootaxa 3985 (2): 219–251. (link to the paper). This paper is useful for understanding the morphology of Neotibicen as well as how the various species are genetically related.
  • Biogeography of the Cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) of North America, North of Mexico by Allen F. Sanborn and Polly K. Phillips. (Download PDF). This document is particularly useful for locations.
  • The Cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadoidea: Cicadidae) of N. America North of Mexico by Allen F. Sanborn and Maxine S. Heath. (the book is available here)

You can also use this website as a resource. The Cicada Species of North America and USA & Canada Cicada Search are useful.

Terminology

  • Eyes: Neotibicen have 5 eyes, but for the purposes of identification, the two big, composite eyes are most important.
  • Mask: a mask, in terms of cicadas, is a dark band between their eyes. Not all cicadas have this, but when they do, it can be useful for identification. Mask
  • Pronotum: the dorsal surface of the first segment of the thorax. The word means “before back” in Greek.
  • Pronotal Collar or simply Collar: a collar-like band that separates the head and thorax.
  • Mesonotum: a shield-shaped structure that covers the dorsal side of the second segment of the thorax. The name means “middle shield” in Greek. This is where the arches or “M” appears on the cicada.
  • Cruciform Elevation: a cross-shaped structure found on the dorsal side at the end of the thorax
  • Pruinose: a white, waxy substance found on the bodies of many cicadas. Pruinosity refers to the degree to which the cicada’s body features pruinose.
  • Costal Margin & Wing Shape in general: The costal margin is the outer edge of the cicada’s forewing. The shape of the wing can help you diagnose the species. Wing Bend
  • Abdomen: The third, last and final portion of the cicada’s body (1st: head, 2nd: thorax, 3rd: abdomen).
  • Dorsal: The top side of the cicada.
  • Ventral: The bottom side of the cicada — where the legs are.
  • Teneral: Teneral means soft, and in the case of cicadas, it refers to the adult cicada when it has recently molted and is still soft/unsclerotized.
  • Song: Neotibicen males sing using their tybmals, which are drum-like organs located in their abdomen.

Cicada Anatomy

Those are the resources and terminology — now on to the challenges.

Rules are not absolute

Sometimes a diagnostic characteristic is fool-proof for the majority of identifications, but in some cases it fails.

Example: N. lyricen typically have black collars, but not 100% of the time. You might find a lyricen with a green collar, and think it is a N. linnei.

Hybridization

Neotibicen like canicularis, linnei, pruinosus, robinsonianus & winnemanna, are closely related, and cicada researchers have found evidence that they hybridize, based on hybrid songs or mixed characteristics.

See Bill Reynolds’ information on hybrids on BugGuide.

Live vs. Dead

Dead specimens lose color over time. Eyes lose color. Vibrant greens become dull. Dull greens become yellow or brown. Keep that in mind.

Eye Colors Fade

Teneral vs Adult

When cicadas molt, and their bodies as still soft, they are often lighter in color and the markings on their skin are not clearly defined.

2 hours of change

Some previous articles about identifying teneral Neotibicen:

Lighting

Photograph the same cicada in direct sunlight, indoors with a flash, or without a flash under florescent lighting, and it might appear different each time.

The eyes, in particular, look different under different lighting conditions.

Name changes

The names of all plants and animals change over time, for several reasons. An old book or paper about Neotibicen might feature names that have completely changed. Neotibicen tibicen tibicen, for example, was called Tibicen chloromera not long ago.

See major changes to the Tibicen genera for information about the recent change from Tibicen to Neotibicen. I haven’t had to the time to update all the Tibicens to Neotibicens on this website — some day I will.

And in case you wanted to know:

How to tell if a Neotibicen is a male or female.

###

The next article will discuss the Larger Neotibicen species.

October 31, 2015

The 2015 Brood XXIII Emergence Revisited

Filed under: Brood XXIII,Magicicada — Dan @ 5:40 pm

Both Brood XXIII and Brood IV Magicicada periodical cicadas emerged in 2015. It was my plan to go on an epic road trip, see both broods, and report and document everything. I was able to cover a lot of ground, but thanks to cool or atrocious weather, I completely missed Brood IV, and much of Brood XXIII.

The most difficult thing about planning an epic cicada vacation is timing it right. It really depends on the luck of the draw. Cicada behavior depends on the weather, and since we cannot predict the weather months, weeks, or sometimes days in advance, it is difficult to guess exactly which weeks to plan a vacation.

These cicadas like nice weather: dry, sunny, preferably in the high 70s or 80s. If it is too cold, they won’t emerge. If it is too cool, they won’t sing, making it hard to find them when traveling along the highway, because we need to hear them to find them. If the weather is absolutely abysmal, like it was in Texas this year, I’m not even going to try to look for them; I like cicadas a lot, but they aren’t worth having my car washed into a roadside ravine.

That said, I did get to hear and see a lot of Magicicadas, so I’m not complaining.

I traveled through the following states:

Mississippi: ✔️Plenty of cicadas. I heard three 13-year Magicicada species in Jackson, Mississippi, in the woods behind the Mississippi Museum of Natural History.
Louisiana: ❌ I heard no cicadas. Bad/cool weather.
Texas: ❌ I saw the storm clouds, and headed back to Arkansas.
Arkansas: ❌ I heard no cicadas. More bad/cool weather.
Tennesse: ✔️ Plenty of cicadas North of Memphis.
Kentucky: ✔️Plenty of cicadas in the Land Between the Lakes area.
Illinois: ✔️An amazing amount of cicadas in the Giant City State Park area, including all four 13-year Magicicada species.
Indiana: ✔️ A couple exuvia/skins at a welcome center.

Note that the ❌ does not mean that cicadas did not appear in those states this year. It just means I did not see them because of weather conditions & timing.

This is a map of my cicada sightings:
2015 Roadtrip

Visit my 2015 Brood XXIII gallery, to see more photos like this:

Male Female and Male Magicicada tredecim

Some specimens:

Magicicada specimens

Some videos:

Cicadas in Giant City Park in Illinois:

Cicadas in the Land Between the Lakes Area in Kentucky:

October 25, 2015

Catching Cicadas in North Carolina

Filed under: Bill Reynolds,Neotibicen — Tags: , , , — Dan @ 12:51 pm

This past summer I had the opportunity to meet cicada expert Bill Reynolds. Bill manages the Arthropod Zoo at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The arthropod zoo in the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science

Bill’s specialty is Neotibicen (formerly Tibicen) cicadas. Neotibicen are a genera of broad-headed, medium-sized, well-cammouflaged cicadas that belong to the tribe Cryptotympanini.

I met Bill at the museum and allowed me to view his massive collection of Neotibicen — box after box of cicadas, all carefully pinned and labeled. See a small portion of Bill’s collection.

Neotibicen pronotalis: Neotibicen pronotalis

Later we went for lunch, and listened for N. winnemanna hybrids in the neighborhood surrounding the museum. Close to the entrance of the museum, we heard a cicada that started with the call of the N. winnemanna and ended with the call of N. linnei — likely a hybrid. Around the museum neighborhood we heard other cicadas that sounded like a N. winnemanna but not quite. Very interesting.

Personally, my methods of catching cicadas are: 1) waiting until dark and grabbing them when they are still nymphs or eclosing, 2) grabbing them by hand on a tree or in flight, or 3) waiting for them to die, and collecting them from the ground. Bill introduced me to two new methods: 1) netting cicadas, and 2) finding cicadas under lights in parking lots.

I own a net (purchased from BioQuip) but I haven’t practiced using it. Bill Reynolds is a master of spotting and netting cicadas. He uses a net with 3 or 4 extension poles, which I belive gives him a 20′ reach. Bill is a cicada netting ninja. In a small, roadside patch of trees he caught three N. winnemanna in a matter of minutes.

Here is a video of that grove of N. winnemanna patronized trees. (Listen, don’t watch. The video camera work is erratic and you won’t see any live cicadas):

Here is a N. winnemanna Bill caught with a net:

N. winnemanna

Finding cicadas under parking lot lights require you to cruise shopping mall parking lots on hot summer nights. Wait until midnight, and slowly drive behind malls looking for cicadas clinging to walls or resting on the ground. It is simple as that.

Here is a N. lyricen engelhardti found by Bill.

Neotibicen lyricen engelhardti

Whenever catching cicadas you should be respectful of private property, don’t cause a disturbance, and be mindful of local laws.

Older Posts »