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November 20, 2014

Magicicada cassini singing on hand

Filed under: Brood XIV,Magicicada,Roy Troutman,Sounds,Video — Tags: — by @ 8:48 am

From Roy Troutman: “I shot a video back in 1991 of a 17 year Magicicada cassini singing right on my hand.”

Magicicada cassini singing on hand from Roy Troutman.

The excavation skills of cicadas

Filed under: Cicada Anatomy,Magicicada,Roy Troutman — by @ 8:01 am

Cicadas spend most of their lives, as nymphs, underground. The large forelegs of cicada nymphs are adapted to digging through soil.

cicada foreleg
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 excavating tunnel from Roy Troutman.

Magicicada nymph emerging from burrow by Roy

Magicicada nymph emerging from burrow from Roy Troutman.

White eyed magicicada by Roy Troutman

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.

White eyed magicicada from Roy Troutman.

November 19, 2014

Which fungus attacks Magicicadas? Massospora cicadina

Filed under: Magicicada — by @ 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).

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.

Magicicada cassini calls, chorusing & responses to finger snaps

Filed under: Brood II,Magicicada,Periodical,Sounds,Video — Tags: — by @ 8:00 am

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

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 calling at 109db in Colonia NJ.

Magicicada cassini chorusing center peaking at 85db

Magicicada cassini chorusing center peaking at 85db.

Video of Magicicada septendecula from Brood II

Filed under: Brood II,Magicicada,Ovipositing,Periodical,Video — Tags: — by @ 7:45 am

Here are two videos of Magicicada septendecula from Brood II.

Female Magicicada septendecula

Magicicada septendecula.

A female Magicicada septendecula ovipositing

A female Magicicada septendecula ovipositing.

November 2, 2014

Brood IV, the Kansan brood, will emerge in 2015

Filed under: Brood IV,Magicicada,Periodical — by @ 1:06 pm

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.

Brood XXIII, the Lower Mississippi Valley brood, will emerge in 2015

Filed under: Brood XXIII,Magicicada,Periodical — by @ 12:38 pm

Brood XXIII, the Lower Mississippi Valley brood, will emerge in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Kentucky, Illinois, and Indiana, in the spring of 2015.

The cicada species that will emerge are Magicicada tredecim (Walsh and Riley, 1868); Magicicada neotredecim Marshall and Cooley, 2000; Magicicada tredecassini Alexander and Moore, 1962; and Magicicada tredecula Alexander and Moore, 1962. These periodical cicadas have a 13-year life cycle. The last time they emerged was 2002.

Back in 2002, the emergence began in the last week of April, 2002, and ended the beginning of July. You can read what people said about them back in April, May, and June of 2002.

Here’s where folks reported the cicadas to Cicada Mania in 2002:

Arkansas: Bayou Deview Wildlife Management Area, Poinsett County, Devalls Bluff, Harrisburg, Holland Bottoms, Jacksonville, Jonesboro, Knox Co., Lake Hogue, Lake Poinsett State Park, Little Rock and Wynne.

Illinois: Anna, Carbondale, Carterville, Chester, Clinton Lake, Marissa and Robinson.

Indiana: Harmonie State Park, Hymera, Leanne, Richland, Sullivan And Posey Counties.

Kentucky: Benton, Calvert City, Gilbertsville, Henry County, Murray and Paducah.

Louisiana: Bastrop, Choudrant, Grayson and West Monroe.

Mississippi: Alva, Arlington, Booneville, Brandon, Clinton, Corinth, Desoto County, Florence, French Camp, Hernando, Holcomb, Houlka, Jackson, New Albany, Oxford, Potts Camp, Silver Creek, Tishomingo, and Water Valley.

Tennessee: Atoka, Benton, Cordova, Henry County, Huntingdon, Jackson, Lavinia, Leach, Lexington, McNeary County, Memphis, Paris, Savannah and Speedwell.

Brood XXIII reports from 2002

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.

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