December 17, 2014
November 20, 2014
From Roy Troutman: “I shot a video back in 1991 of a 17 year Magicicada cassini singing right on my hand.”
Cicadas spend most of their lives, as nymphs, underground. The large forelegs of cicada nymphs are adapted to digging through soil.
Image from The Periodical Cicada: An Account of Cicada Septendecim, Its Natural Enemies and the Means of Preventing Its Injury by C.L. Marlatt. 1898.
These videos demonstrate Magicicada nymphs digging through soil.
Magicicada nymph excavating tunnel by Roy
This magicicada nymph is excavating a make shift tunnel sandwiched between two pieces of plexiglass.:
Magicicada nymph emerging from burrow by Roy
Here is a video of a rare white eyed magicicada. This is from a gene mutation that strepps the color from the cicadas eyes & also wings to some extent.
This video by Roy Troutman shows a Tibicen cicada nymph emerge from the ground.
Cicadas breathe through apertures along the side of their body called spiracles. This video of a Tibicen by Roy Troutman shows the opening and closing of a spiracle.
November 19, 2014
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).
A photo by Roy Troutman from Brood XIV (2008):
Two photos by Dan Mozgai from Brood II (2013):
Magicicada fungus (massospora cicadina)
During the Brood II emergence in 2013, Elias Bonaros, Roy Troutman and I spent some time experimenting with coercing male Magicicada to call in response to finger snaps, which mimic the snap of a female cicada’s wings. This trick works fairly well with Magicicada, and can quickly be mastered once you work out the timing. Fingers, wall switches, and the zoom button on my Sony video camera do a good job at mimicking the snap of a females wings.
Magicicada cassini responding to fingersnaps
I also recorded their calls in terms of decibels to see just how loud they could get. They can get very loud, but not as loud as a rock concert (see this db chart).
Magicicada cassini calling at 109db in Colonia NJ
Magicicada cassini chorusing center peaking at 85db
Here are two videos of Magicicada septendecula from Brood II.
Female Magicicada septendecula
A female Magicicada septendecula ovipositing
November 2, 2014
Brood IV, the Kansan brood, will emerge in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa, in the spring of 2015.
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 1998.
More to come as we get closer to the spring.