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April 5, 2015

Time to start looking for signs of periodical cicadas

Filed under: Magicicada,Periodical,United States,Video — Dan @ 1:01 am

Depending on where you live, it might be warm enough for periodical cicadas to start moving around underground, or start digging tunnels to the surface and building cicada “chimneys” above their holes. Report cicada nymph or adult sightings to Magicicada.org so cicada researchers will know where they are.

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.

Cicada holes

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.

Cicada 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.

Magicicada chimneys

cicada chimney

Periodical cicadas typically won’t emerge until their body temperature reaches approximately 65 degrees Fahrenheit (17-19.5 Celsius1). Their bodies are warmed by surrounding soil, or warm water from rain. A good rule of thumb is, if the soil 8 inches deep is 65°, the conditions are good that they might emerge.

1Heath, J.E. 1968. Thermal synchronization of emergence in periodical “17-year” cicadas (Ho- moptera. Cicadidae, Magicicada). American Midland Naturalist 80:440–448.

March 21, 2015

Better IDs for E.A. Seguy Cicada Illustrations

Filed under: Identify,Pop Culture — Dan @ 8:30 am

The NCSU Libraries Rare and Unique Digital Collections website recently reminded the us of artist Eugene Alain (E.A.) Seguy’s insect illustrations. Seguy created these illustrations in the 1920’s, and as you might imagine, some of the cicada names cited in the notes for these illustrations have changed. Names typically change when cicadas are reclassified due to discoveries about their biology, or when we realize that someone else had actually named them earlier than the namer currently given credit.

Here are the two illustrations, the accompanying identification, and corrected identifications.

Illustration:

EA Seguy Cicada Art

Accompanying identification:

1. Tacua speciosa. Indes; 2. Polyneura ducalis. Indes Or.; 3. Cicada saccata. Australie; 4. Cicada fascialis. Siam; 5. Tozena melanoptera. Indes Or.

Corrected or expanded identification:

  1. Tacua speciosa. This is correct, although there are two subspecies of T. speciosa, I’m going to guess it is Tacua speciosa speciosa (Illiger, 1800) based on the location.
  2. Polyneura ducalis. This is correct. Polyneura ducalis Westwood, 1840.
  3. Cicada saccata. This is now: Thopha saccata (Fabricius, 1803).
  4. Cicada fascialis. This is now: Cryptotympana facialis facialis (Walker, 1858). Update: David Emery says this might be a Cryptotympana acuta (Signoret, 1849).
  5. Tozena melanoptera. Close enough. Tosena melanoptera melanoptera (White, 1846). There are a few unnamed subspecies.

Illustration:

EA Seguy Cicada Art

Accompanying identification:

1. Goeana festiva. Indes; 2. Zammara tympanum. Amérique du Sud; 3. Goeana ochracea. Indes; 4. Phenax variegata. Brésil; 5. Hemisciera maculipennis. Amazone

Corrected or expanded identification:

  1. Goeana festiva is actually Callogaeana festiva festiva (Fabricius, 1803).
  2. Zammara tympanum. This is correct. Zammara tympanum (Fabricius, 1803).
  3. Goeana ochracea is way off. It is a Tailanga binghami Distant, 1890.
  4. Phenax variegata is not a cicada, is it a fulgoroid planthopper, but the id is correct.
  5. Hemisciera maculipennis is correct. Hemisciera maculipennis (de Laporte, 1832) aka the “Stop and Go” cicada, because its colors resemble the colors of a stop light.

March 9, 2015

2015 Periodical Cicada Emergences

Filed under: Brood IV,Brood XXIII,Magicicada,Periodical Stragglers — Dan @ 1:06 am

There will be two major periodical cicada emergences in 2015. We’re less that 2 months away!

2015 BROOD IV AND XXIII

Brood XXIII, the Lower Mississippi Valley brood:

This brood of 13 year Magicicada will emerge in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Kentucky, Illinois, and Indiana. Brood XXIII features all four 13 year Magicicada species M. tredecim, M. neotredecim, M. tredecassini and M. tredecula.

When they’ll emerge depends on the weather. A cool spring will mean the emergences will start later in the spring. Regardless of the weather, the emergences will begin in the Southern-most states, sometime in late April or early to mid May.

Brood XXIII should, depending on the weather, start emerging in less than two months; some time in late April in Louisiana.

Brood IV, the Kansan Brood:

This brood of 17 year Magicicada will emerge in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa. Brood VI features all three 17 year Magicicada species M. septendecim, M. cassini, and M. septendecula.

Brood IV should start emerging in early May.

Brood IV and XXIII won’t emerge in the same year again until the year 2236. The only state that features both Brood XXIII & IV is Missouri, but the areas where they emerge do not overlap.

Stragglers:

The best bet for Stragglers will be Brood VIII (17 year cicadas emerging 4 years early) & XIX (13 year cicadas emerging 4 years late). There is also a chance for III (17yr/1 year late), V (17yr/1 year early), and XXII (13yr/1 year late). Visit our brood page, to see the states where these stragglers might emerge.

Please report sightings:

Report cicada nymph or adult sightings to Magicicada.org so cicada researchers will know where they are.


March 4, 2015

New Version of The Cicadidae of Japan

Filed under: Books,Japan — Dan @ 6:08 am

A new version of the Cicadidae of Japan is out. This is not a reprint. It adds new photos and the accompanying CD features new audio recordings.

Cicadidae of Japan

It is available on Amazon in Japan.

February 23, 2015

Photos of Cicadas of New Zealand

Filed under: Amphipsalta,Kikihia,Maoricicada,New Zealand — Dan @ 8:23 pm

Flickr.com is an excellent source of cicada photos, and it is where I go for cicada photos from New Zealand. This is a sample of the cicada photos you will find on Flickr.com.

The colorful Amphipsalta zealandica:

Chorus Cicada or Kihikihi
Photo by Sid Mosdell. Auckland New Zealand. CC BY 2.0.

Amphipsalta zelandica (ii)
Photo by Nuytsia@Tas. Punakaiki, Paporoa National Park, New Zealand. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Members of the genus Kikihia:

the singing cicada
Photo by Rosino. Auckland, New Zealand. CC BY-SA 2.0.

cicada III
Photo by aliceskr. New Zealand. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Members of the genus Maoricicada:

JJS_0101
Photos by Jon Sullivan. Auckland, New Zealand. CC BY-NC 2.0.

JJS_0068 2
Photo by Jon Sullivan. Auckland, New Zealand. CC BY-NC 2.0.

Visit NEW ZEALAND CICADAS (HEMIPTERA: CICADIDAE): A VIRTUAL IDENTIFICATION GUIDE for in-depth information about the cicadas of New Zealand.

February 22, 2015

10 Facts about Cicada Killer Wasps

Filed under: Cicada Killer Wasps — Dan @ 8:58 pm

Cicada Killer Wasp on Elias' Finger

Every now and then someone will email me about “a giant bee attacking a cicada”. These are not bees, these are Cicada Killer Wasps. Now is a good time to write about them because Prof. Chuck Holliday is now retired and has shut down his Cicada Killer Wasp website 1.

Here are 10 facts about Cicada Killer Wasps for you to enjoy:

  1. Yes, these wasps kill cicadas. it works like this 1:
    1. The adult female wasp will paralyze the cicada with her venomous sting.
    2. The wasp will carry the cicada to a burrow, where it will place the cicada.
    3. The wasp will lay an egg under the left or right second leg of the cicada.
    4. The egg hatches, and the larvae begins to eat the cicada, while taking care to keep it alive.
    5. Once the larvae has had its fill, it spins a cocoon, in which it will change into an adult wasp.
  2. Female wasps are able to predetermine the sex of their larvae.1 They must do this because it takes more females to create new generations of wasps, than it does males.
  3. Cicada Killer Wasps belong to the family Crabronidae Latreille, 1802; the tribe Bembicini Latreille, 1802 and the genus Sphecius Dahlbom, 1843 2. Crabronidae comes from the Latin word for hornet, Bembicini comes from the Greek word for buzzing insect, and Sphecius is from the Greek word for wasp.
  4. Not all Sphecius wasps in the world kill cicadas, but all Sphecius in the New World (the Americas) do 3.
  5. If you haven’t seen a Cicada Killer Wasp, they are large black and pale yellow wasps, and are often found carrying a cicada (see image on this page).
  6. Cicada Killer Wasps are often confused with European Wasps (Vespa crabro). European Wasps are a more vibrant yellow color, and feature more yellow than back. They also belong to an entirely different family of wasp: Vespidae.
  7. There are five species of Cicada Killer Wasps in the Americas 3:
    • Sphecius convallis (Patton, 1879) aka the Pacific Cicada Killer, is found in the U.S.A. and Mexico.
    • Sphecius grandis (Say, 1824), the Western Cicada Killer, is found in the U.S.A. Mexico and parts of Central America.
    • Sphecius hogardii (Latreille, 1809 aka the Caribbean Cicada Killer, is found in Florida and Caribbean countries.
    • Sphecius speciosus (Drury, 1773) aka the Eastern Cicada Killer, is found in Ontario, Canada, the U.S.A. Mexico and parts of Central America.
    • Sphecius spectabilis (Taschenberg, 1875) is found in South America.
  8. I know what you are thinking: are these terrifyingly large wasps a threat to human beings? The short answer is NO. They are so focused on cicadas or other Cicada Killer Wasps, that they could care less about you. Sure, if you step on one, squeeze one in your hand, or otherwise harass the insect, it might sting you. Unlike other wasps, it will not go out of its way to harm you. Play it safe, do not go near these wasps, particularly if you are allergic to stinging insects, or do not wish to be placed in a burrow with a larvae tucked under your arm. That said, check out the video below of a Sphecius speciosus “mating ball” in Elias Bonaros’ hand:
  9. Some species of Cicada Killer Wasps show a preferences for female cicadas (S. hogardii), and some seem to prefer male cicadas (S. grandis), but it is not clear why. You might think that these wasps will take more males than females because of the loud sound the males cicadas make, but this is not the case 1.
  10. Cicada Killer Wasps (S. speciosus) will prey upon Magicicada periodical cicadas 3. There is a bit of a myth that Magicicada are able to avoid these wasps but that is not the case.

References:

  1. The “Biology of cicada killer wasps | Prof. Chuck Holliday's www page at Lafayette College” website which is now archived at http://web.archive.org/web/20150203211426/http://sites.lafayette.edu/hollidac/research/biology-of-cicada-killer-wasps/.
  2. The ITIS listing for Sphecius Dahlbom, 1843.
  3. Holliday, C., Hastings, J., and Coelho, J. 2009. Cicada Prey of New World Cicada Killers, Sphecius Spp. (Dahlbom, 1843) (Hymenoptera: Crabronidae). Entomological News. 120:1-17.

Bonus:

I love this tweet featuring the cicada collection of song cicada killer wasp:

February 5, 2015

Visualizing all periodical cicada broods

Isn’t this a lovely picture (updated with colors sorted)?

All Broods

This image represents the combined range of all Magicicada periodical cicada broods, including the extinct Broods XI (last recorded in Connecticut) and XXI (last recorded in Florida).

To produce this image, I visited John Cooley’s Magicicada.org Cicada Geospacial Data Clearinghouse and downloaded the Shapefile of Magicicada broods. Then I used the computer program QGIS to change the Shapefile to a KML file, and then I opened the file in Google Earth. Credit goes to John for pulling the data together into the Shapefile.

I manually edited the KML file to try to give each Brood a different color.

An interesting area is Fredrick County, where 5 different broods seem to exist (or have existed) at once.
Fredrick County VA

Peach = Brood I
Green = Brood II
Purple = Brood V
Cyan = Brood X
Red = Brood XIV

It’s also interesting that four of the broods are separated by four years: X, XIV, I, V.

January 20, 2015

Green Grocer Merch

Filed under: Australia,Cicada Mania,Cyclochila australasiae — Dan @ 6:23 am

Green Grocer

I felt bad about always using an illustration of North American cicadas, so I made a Green Grocer cicada for Australian fans.

Get this image on a shirt, mug or even a pillow case via CafePress (the mugs are the most affordable).

December 24, 2014

Cicada Christmas Lights

Filed under: Christmas,Cicada Arts,Pop Culture,Video — Dan @ 1:58 am

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.

Cicada Christmas Lights

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?

wreath_crop

Or a Cicada Christmas Card from Sam Orr:

Cicada Christmas card

cicada Christmas

December 17, 2014

Behold a molting Tibicen

Filed under: Tibicen — Tags: — Dan @ 5:48 am

Walter Abington sent us this series of photographs of a molting Tibicen cicada. I believe the cicada is a Tibicen pruinosus based on this guide to identifying teneral Tibicen.

A molting Tibicen

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