Cicada Mania

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June 6, 2013

How loud/noisy (in decibels) do periodical cicadas get?

Last Thursday Roy Troutman, Elias Bonaros and I traveled around central New Jersey, looking for cicadas. They were not hard to find. Elias found a location in Colonia that had a particularly loud Magicicada cassini chorusing center. Using my camera and Extech 407730 40-to-130-Decibel Digital Sound Level Meter, I recorded the calls of these cicadas and how loud they can get. The quality of the video isn’t the best because it’s a camera, not a video camera, but it is good enough.

Magicicada cassini chorusing center peaking at 85db (on Vimeo):

Magicicada cassini chorusing center peaking at 85db from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

Elias and Roy used finger snaps, mimicking the wing snaps of female cicadas, to trick the males into singing:

Magicicada cassini responding to fingersnaps (on Vimeo):

Magicicada cassini responding to fingersnaps from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

We placed the M. cassini directly on the microphone and got calls as high as 109 decibels, in this video:

Magicicada cassini calling at 109db in Colonia NJ from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

There were a few M. septendecim in the area as well. A Magicicada septendecim goes from a Court II to Court III call as soon as it crawls on the decibel meter, in this video.

Magicicada septendecim court 3 from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

The cicada choruses in Central New Jersey have no doubt gotten louder since last week. Hopefully on Sunday I’ll get back out to Central Jersey or Staten Island and make some recordings.

2 Comments

  1. Dave S. says:

    They invaded Staten Island on the South Shore in the neighborhood right behind the Staten Island Mall where I live. In the morning it’s so loud it sounds like a bank alarm going off. The cicada shells are everywhere in my neighborhood too.

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