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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).

April 9, 2013

Biogeography of the Cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) of North America, North of Mexico

Download the PDF here: www.cicadamania.com/downloads/diversity-05-00166.pdf.

We are excited to announce the availability of a document by Allen F. Sanborn and Polly K. Phillips titled Biogeography of the Cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) of North America, North of Mexico. This document features distribution maps for North American cicada species! This document is an excellent companion to The Cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadoidea: Cicadidae) of North America North of Mexico by Allen F. Sanborn and Maxine S. Heath (link to that book).

Abstract: We describe and illustrate the biogeography of the cicadas inhabiting continental North America, north of Mexico. Species distributions were determined through our collecting efforts as well as label data from more than 110 institutional collections. The status of subspecies is discussed with respect to their distributions. As we have shown over limited geographic areas, the distribution of individual species is related to the habitat in which they are found. We discuss the biogeography of the genera with respect to their phylogenetic relationships. California is the state with the greatest alpha diversity (89 species, 46.6% of taxa) and unique species (35 species, 18.3% of taxa). Texas, Arizona, Colorado and Utah are the states with the next greatest alpha diversity with Texas, Arizona and Utah being next for unique species diversity. Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island are the states with the least amount of cicada diversity. Diversity is greatest in states and areas where there is a diversity of plant communities and habitats within these communities. Mountainous terrain also coincides with increases in diversity. Several regions of the focus area require additional collection efforts to fill in the distributions of several species.
Keywords: cicada; distribution; Diceroprocta; Tibicen; Okanagana; Okanagodes; Cacama; Magicicada; Platypedia; Cicadetta

An example of a map from the document:

Example Map

June 10, 2012

Various cicada species emerging in the United States

Brood I Magicicada periodical cicadas continue to emerge in VA, WA and TN. Magicicada stragglers belonging to other broods, continue to emerge as well.

Neocicada hieroglyphica are around as well, particularly in Florida [link goes to image].

Neocicada hieroglyphica  adult
Example of a Neocicada hieroglyphica.

Cicadas belonging to the genus Cacama (Cactus Dodgers), including the Cacama valvata are emerging in south-western states like New Mexico and Arizona [link goes to image].

Cacama valvata (female)
Example Cacama valvata.

Cicadas belonging to the genus Tibicen are emerging in warmer areas of the United States. Joe Green found a Tibicen tibicen (possibly Tibicen tibicen australis [see Insect Singers site for song and description]) in Florida. Tibicen superbus [image] are emerging in Southern states as well.

Tibicen superbus
Example of a Tibicen superbus

Cicadas belonging to the genus Platypedia are emerging in Califorina [link goes to image]. See also Hello, my tree is clicking.

Cicadas belonging to the genus Okanagana are emerging in California [link goes to image].