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November 19, 2014

Magicicada cassini calls, chorusing & responses to finger snaps

Filed under: Brood II,Magicicada,Periodical,Sounds,Video — Tags: — by @ 8:00 am

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.

Video of Magicicada septendecula from Brood II

Filed under: Brood II,Magicicada,Ovipositing,Periodical,Video — Tags: — by @ 7:45 am

Here are two videos of Magicicada septendecula from Brood II.

Female Magicicada septendecula

Magicicada septendecula.

A female Magicicada septendecula ovipositing

A female Magicicada septendecula ovipositing.

November 16, 2014

Where can I buy cicadas online?

Filed under: FAQs,Websites — by @ 4:28 am

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: Connecticut Valley Biological Supply Company Cicada Life Cycle

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.

November 13, 2014

Australian Cicada Names

Filed under: Australia,David Emery — by @ 1:01 am

It’s that time again: time for cicadas in Australia!

Australia has the best cicada names:

  • Cyclochila australasiae
    • Green Grocer
      Green Grocer (Cyclochila australasiae)
    • Yellow Monday
      rare green yellow Green Grocer
    • Chocolate Soldier
    • Blue Moon
      Blue Moon (Cyclochila australasiae)
    • Masked Devil
      Masked Devil cicada (Cyclochila australasiae)
  • Macrotristria angularis
    • Cherrynose or Whiskey Drinker
      Cherry Nose cicada (Macrotristria angularis)
  • Pauropsalta extrema
  • Lembeja paradoxa
    • Bagpipe Cicada
      Lembeja paradoxa
  • Abricta curvicosta
    • Floury Baker
      Michelle Thompson's Floury Baker (Abricta curvicosta)
  • Anapsaltoda pulchra
    • Golden Emperor
      Anapsaltoda pulchra (Golden Emperor) from Herberton (Queensland) by David Emery.
  • Arenopsaltria fullo
  • Macrotristria godingi
  • Thopha saccata
    • Double Drummer
      Double Drummer (Thopha saccata)
  • Thopha colorata
    • Orange Drummer
      Orange Drummer (Thopha colorata)
  • Arunta perulata
    • White Drummer
      White Drummer cicada (Arunta perulata)
  • Psaltoda plaga
  • Tamasa tristigma
  • Cystosoma saundersii

    • Bladder Cicada
      Cystosoma saundersii (bladder cicada)

    Psaltoda moerens

    • Redeye cicada
      Redeye cicada (Psaltoda moerens)

Use this amazing image by David Emery to identify some of the most well-known Australian cicada species:

Aussie cicadas 1 (3)

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”.

November 12, 2014

New Zealand cicada season

Filed under: New Zealand,Websites — by @ 11:25 am

Cicada season in New Zealand begins in November and lasts throughout their Summer months.

The species Maoricicada hamiltoni (Myers, 1926) aka Hamilton’s Cicada, in particular, emerges in November. M. hamiltoni is known for its abundant hair-like setulae (see an image on this page).

Here is a list of the best New Zealand cicada links:

  1. New Zealand Cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadidae): A virtual identification guide (landcareresearch.co.nz) A wonderful web site. Includes a visual identification guide, checklist, and image gallery. Photos of dozens of species.
  2. Cicada Central: New Zealand (uconn.edu) Cicada Central’s New Zealand cicada pages.
  3. Suzy’s World Cicada page (suzy.co.nz) Fun, kid-friendly presentation of cicada information.
  4. An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand (teara.govt.nz) Three paragraphs of information.
  5. Introducing cicadas (teara.govt.nz) Photos, sounds and 4 paragraphs of information.
  6. New Zealand cicadas (troutbum.co.nz)
    Large photos of Kikihia and Amphipsalta.

Here is a nice article about the cicada Sounds of a Kiwi summer:

We have around 40 species of cicada in New Zealand, and probably the most familiar to us is the clapping cicada, which is actually two very closely related species that form the basis of our summer soundtrack in much of the country.

Some cicada New Zealand photos:

November 2, 2014

Brood IV, the Kansan brood, will emerge in 2015

Filed under: Brood IV,Magicicada,Periodical — by @ 1:06 pm

Brood IV, the Kansan brood, will emerge in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa, in the spring of 2015.

The cicada species that will emerge are Magicicada cassinii (Fisher, 1852), Magicicada septendecim (Linnaeus, 1758), and Magicicada septendecula Alexander and Moore, 1962. These periodical cicadas have a 17-year life cycle. The last time they emerged was 1998.

More to come as we get closer to the spring.

Brood XXIII, the Lower Mississippi Valley brood, will emerge in 2015

Filed under: Brood XXIII,Magicicada,Periodical — by @ 12:38 pm

Brood XXIII, the Lower Mississippi Valley brood, will emerge in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Kentucky, Illinois, and Indiana, in the spring of 2015.

The cicada species that will emerge are Magicicada tredecim (Walsh and Riley, 1868); Magicicada neotredecim Marshall and Cooley, 2000; Magicicada tredecassini Alexander and Moore, 1962; and Magicicada tredecula Alexander and Moore, 1962. These periodical cicadas have a 13-year life cycle. The last time they emerged was 2002.

Back in 2002, the emergence began in the last week of April, 2002, and ended the beginning of July. You can read what people said about them back in April, May, and June of 2002.

Here’s where folks reported the cicadas to Cicada Mania in 2002:

Arkansas: Bayou Deview Wildlife Management Area, Poinsett County, Devalls Bluff, Harrisburg, Holland Bottoms, Jacksonville, Jonesboro, Knox Co., Lake Hogue, Lake Poinsett State Park, Little Rock and Wynne.

Illinois: Anna, Carbondale, Carterville, Chester, Clinton Lake, Marissa and Robinson.

Indiana: Harmonie State Park, Hymera, Leanne, Richland, Sullivan And Posey Counties.

Kentucky: Benton, Calvert City, Gilbertsville, Henry County, Murray and Paducah.

Louisiana: Bastrop, Choudrant, Grayson and West Monroe.

Mississippi: Alva, Arlington, Booneville, Brandon, Clinton, Corinth, Desoto County, Florence, French Camp, Hernando, Holcomb, Houlka, Jackson, New Albany, Oxford, Potts Camp, Silver Creek, Tishomingo, and Water Valley.

Tennessee: Atoka, Benton, Cordova, Henry County, Huntingdon, Jackson, Lavinia, Leach, Lexington, McNeary County, Memphis, Paris, Savannah and Speedwell.

Brood XXIII reports from 2002

October 12, 2014

2015 Periodical Cicada Emergences

Filed under: Brood IV,Brood XXIII,Periodical Stragglers — by @ 7:06 pm

Magicicada Periodical CicadaThere will be two major periodical cicada emergences in 2015.

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 IV, the Kansan Brood. This brood of 17 year Magicicada will emerge in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa.

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 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.

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.


October 5, 2014

Cicada Endosymbionts – Beneficial Bacteria in their Bellies

Filed under: Cicada Anatomy,Tettigades — by @ 10:41 am

xylem soda

Most people know how termites rely on microbes in their gut to break down the wood they consume into nutrients their insect bodies can use. Even human beings benefit from bacteria to help digest certain carbohydrates, fight pathogens and produce certain vitamins (like K and B12).

Cicadas also benefit from microbial endosymbionts. Cicadas, for most of their lives, consume a diet of xylem sap, drawn from the roots of trees. There are two types of sap: xylem and phloem. Phloem is the delicious, sugary one — in Maples, it’s Maple Syrup. Xylem is the “Diet” version of that. Thankfully cicadas have bacteria in their gut that process the xylem sap into nutrients cicadas can actually use.

Recently it was discovered that one such bacteria (Hodgkinia) has become two distinct bacteria in some cicadas belonging to the genus Tettigades. This discovery was documented in the paper Sympatric Speciation in a Bacterial Endosymbiont Results in Two Genomes with the Functionality of One by James T. Van Leuven, Russell C. Meister, Chris Simon, John P. McCutcheon (link http://www.cell.com/cell/abstract/S0092-8674(14)01037-X).

Division of Labor What’s interesting is the Hodgkinia bacteria became two distinct species for no particular discernible reason (nonadaptive evolution). Separate, either of the species would be useless to the cicada because they produce an incomplete set of nutrients, but together they produce the compete set of nutrients. Two function as one, that once was just one. Ed Yong does a thorough job of explaining this on National Geographic. According to Yong’s article McCutcheon thinks they know how it happened (explained in the article and paper). Why it happened is another matter — of course how and why might be the same thing deep in the soggy bowels of a cicada.

Chris Simon, let me know that she is working on a paper that will discuss bacteria found in Magicicada. It will be interesting to learn what they find in the bellies of those long-living cicadas.


What is the loudest cicada?

Filed under: Cicada Anatomy,FAQs — by @ 7:58 am

“What is the loudest cicada” or “what is the loudest insect”, you might ask.

A recent BBC article says researcher John Petti as found the answer: Brevisana brevis, an African cicada, reaches 106.7 decibels — with the loudest North American cicada, Tibicen pronotalis walkeri at 105.9 decibels. Their sound was measured at a distance of 50cm (approximately 20 inches). Specifics about the equipment used and calibration of said equipment is not mentioned.

The article does introduce room for skepticism and debate, by noting that other species come very close (Diceroprocta apache), that the Tibicen pronotalis walkeri alarm call reaches 108.9 decibels, and a North American study that suggests decibels are correlated to body mass (and Brevisana brevis is not the most massive cicada).

According to the book Australian Cicadas by M.S. Moulds (New South Wales University Press, 1990) Cyclochila australasiae and Thopha saccata reach nearly 120db at close range. The “at close range” might be the key difference in measuring the sound, as Petti measured at a distance of 50cm.

I’ve measured Magicicada (the American periodical cicadas) calling around 110db at the “what if it sang next to my ear” distance, which of course, is not 50cm away. Magicicada chorus at around 80db:

Some people want to know how loud a cicada can get just because it is a cool fact to know, but others are concerned about noise-induced hearing loss (about which, I am not an expert). Both decibels and prolonged exposure seem to matter. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders page on Noise-Induced Hearing Loss, prolonged exposure to sounds over 85db can cause hearing loss (just above the chorus of a Magicicada). The WebMD harmful noise levels page has chainsaws and leaf blowers in the range of the loudest cicadas. Lessons learned: 1) Make sure you wear hearing protection if you plan on blowing leaves, or searching for the loudest cicada, and 2) Do not complain about the cicadas in your yard — complain about your neighbors and their leaf blowers.

There are over 3500 types of cicadas in the world, and for now Brevisana brevisis the king of the insect noisemakers.

More information on Petti’s study can be found here.

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