Cicadas spend most of their lives, as nymphs, underground. The large forelegs of cicada nymphs are adapted to digging through soil.
Image from The Periodical Cicada: An Account of Cicada Septendecim, Its Natural Enemies and the Means of Preventing Its Injury by C.L. Marlatt. 1898.
These videos demonstrate Magicicada nymphs digging through soil.
Magicicada nymph excavating tunnel by Roy
This magicicada nymph is excavating a make shift tunnel sandwiched between two pieces of plexiglass.:
Magicicada nymph excavating tunnel from Roy Troutman.
Magicicada nymph emerging from burrow by Roy
Magicicada nymph emerging from burrow 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.
The fungus Massospora cicadina preys on Magicicadas cicadas. This is particularly interesting because the fungus is able to prey upon them in spite of their long 17 year life cycle (apparently fungi are not phased by prime numbers).
A photo by Roy Troutman from Brood XIV (2008):
Two photos by Dan Mozgai from Brood II (2013):
Magicicada fungus (massospora cicadina)
magicicada fungus (massospora cicadina) from Roy Troutman.
This is a selection of links to websites dedicated to the cicadas of Europe.
- Songs of European Singing Cicadas. Many images, sound files and text content.
- SONGS OF CICADAS from Slovenia and Istria (Croatia) (arnes.si) Many cicada photos, sound files and about six paragraphs of information about the cicadas of Slovenia and Croatia by Prof.dr. Matija Gogala.
- La cigale : un insecte vraiment étonnant ! Lots of text content, photos and video of the cicadas of France.
- Species Action Plan: New Forest Cicada (Cicadetta montana) (ukbap.org.uk) A photo and about ten paragraphs of information. England.
- Welcome to the New Forest Cicada Project. A site devoted to finding the New Forrest Cicada in England.
- Cicadas of Spain. There are a lot of photos and video from Spain on Cicada Mania thanks to Iván Jesús Torresano García.
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.
People ask, where can I buy cicadas online?
There are a lot of places, but here are my favorites:
- Ebay.com. Ebay is a good place to find cicada specimens, particularly if you are just starting your collection. Colorful Asian species dominate the species for sale, but you will usually find American species during or after a periodical cicada emergence (when those are plentiful). Most specimens you’ll find on Ebay are mounted, but you can find unmounted specimens as well.
- God of Insects. The God of Insects site has been around for a long time. You’ll find mostly Asian species, which are the most collectable because of their beauty.
- BioQuipBugs. BioQuipBugs has a wide variety of species from a Africa, Asia, North and South America. Their prices are inexpensive. The specimens are also unmounted.
- CTValley Bio only has one cicada product, but it’s really cool: the Cicada Life Cycle. This mount illustrates the Magicicada lifecycle, and includes an egg, nymph and adult.
Connecticut Valley Biological Supply Company Cicada Life Cycle mount:
Search around the web. You might find other shops and different varieties of cicadas not found on the sites mentioned above.
Keep in mind that some species might be over-collected to the point where it could endanger a species. I recommend, for that reason, that people limit their collections and not become too obsessed, as one might who collects toys or comic books.
It’s that time again: time for cicadas in Australia!
Australia has the best cicada names:
Use this amazing image by David Emery to identify some of the most well-known Australian cicada species:
Click images for larger versions and the name of the photographer.
Common names of Australian insects.
Also visit L. Popple’s The cicadas of Australia.
Laura Imbruglia sings songs that mention Green Grocers and Yellow Mondays on her album “It Makes a Crunchy Noise”.