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June 29, 2017

Okanagana Cicadas

Filed under: Okanagana,Proto-periodical — Dan @ 7:11 pm

Okanagana cicadas
Photo credit: left, O. rimosa by Natasha; right, O. bella by Matt Berger.

Okanagana is a genus of cicadas that share their name with the Okanagan Lake, Valley & County areas of British Columbia, Canada. As you might guess, Okanagana are common in Canada. It is likely that the genus was named in tribute to the Okanagan people.

There are approximately 61 species in North America. 93% of species live west of the Mississippi river.

West of the Mississippi, O. synodica synodica & O. bella are the most common species in terms of the number of states and providences they are found. O. canadensis & O. rimosa are the most common species east of the Mississippi.

Lifespans and Lifecycles:

Okanagana rimosa have a lifespan of 9 years. Okanagana synodica have a lifespan of possibly 17 to 19 years! (see Campbell et al. 10.1073/pnas.1421386112).

Okanagana rimosa also appear to be proto-periodical (source) meaning they are abundant in some years, and scarce, but not absent in others.

“Soper et al (112) showed experimentally that Okanagana rimosa had a life
cycle of 9 years, and that in the field during a 9-year period (1962 to
1970) it was extremely abundant in 4 years and scarce or absent in the
other 5. Heath (32) also studied cicadas of the genus Okanagana and
found several species that appear to be protoperiodical.”

I’m not sure, but I suppose other species of Okanagana have proto-periodical lifecycles as well. This would explain why people see Okanagana in great numbers one year, and very few in previous years.

Okanagana
O. canadensis photo taken by Lester Wayne Daniels.

Identification:

Okanagana are typically around between June and July, depending on the species and latitude.

Okanagana are often black, with white, beige or orange highlights on their wings and body. The black color of their exoskeletons helps them absorb warmth from the sun.

Look for four symmetrical markings on their mesonotum (back). The image at the beginning the the article highlights these markings.

One Okanagana that has atypical coloration is the O. viridis which is green. This outlier is one of the few species found in southern states.

Here is a list of Okanagana. The list features the songs of 10 Okanagana that might help you identify Okanagana in your area.

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