I made cicada Christmas lights using some LED USB Christmas lights, and some plastic cicada whistles from Australia. The song of cicadas heralds the Christmas season in many countries in the souther hemisphere like Australia.
CicadaMania Cicada Christmas Lights from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.
Bonus Christmas Cicada stuff:
There is a cicada nicknamed the Kobonga Christmas Clanger in Australia (thx David Marshall and Kathy Hill ):
How about a cicada Christmas Wreath?
Or a Cicada Christmas Card from Sam Orr:
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.
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.
This video by Roy Troutman shows a Tibicen cicada nymph emerge from the ground.
Annual cicada nymph emerging from burrow. from Roy Troutman.
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.
Adult Cicada breathing from Roy Troutman on Vimeo.
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.
Here are two videos of Magicicada septendecula from Brood II.
Female Magicicada septendecula
A female Magicicada septendecula ovipositing
A female Magicicada septendecula ovipositing.
It’s Winter in Australia but I have two cool pieces of Australian Cicada news for you.
First, Australian cicada expert and researcher Lindsay Popple has created a new website about the cicadas of Australia.
Also, he’s been placing cicada songs on SoundCloud as well:
Second, Samuel Orr has shared some video of cicadas from Australia and New Zealand on Vimeo. I believe this video will be part of the cicada documentary he is working on.
Australia and New Zealand Cicadas from motionkicker on Vimeo.
Update! L. W. Popple said on Twitter that cicada season will start in Australia in 1 or 2 weeks! Australia has 8 month long cicada season!
YouTube has lots of videos of cicadas. Here is a playlist of one of the prettiest North American cicadas, Tibicen superbus:
Tibicen superbus, aka the Superb Cicada, can be found in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.
It’s too early for Brood XXII cicadas to emerge in Louisiana and Mississippi, but it might be warm enough for them to start moving around underground. It will be warm enough in the coming weeks for them to start digging tunnels to the surface and building cicada “chimneys” above their holes.
What to look for:
1) Animals can hear the cicadas stirring underground, and will try to dig them up and eat them. Look for holes (about the size of a walnut or larger) made by animals digging for cicadas.
2) Look for cicadas under stones and slates. Some cicadas will burrow their way to the surface, but they hit a large stone or slate and can go no further.
If you find them in this situation, gently put the stone or slate back. They will usually find their way around the obstruction once the time is right.
One clue that a Magicicada nymph is not ready to emerge is their eyes are still white. Their eyes turn red/orange prior to emerging (a few retain a white/blue color).
3) Cicada holes are about the size of a dime. Cicada premptively dig holes to the surface and wait until the weather is nice enough for them to emerge. Sometimes you can see them down in the holes.
4) Cicadas form chimneys above their holes when the soil is moist or muddy. These chimneys might look like a simple golf ball sized dome or a structure over six inches tall.
Cicadas typically won’t emerge until the soil 8 inches below the ground reaches 65ºF, and just one day at that temperature might not be enough. Once the above ground temps hit the 80s, especially after a nice rain, the emergence should get going.