Cicada Mania

The Cicada Mania Blog: News, Findings, and Discoveries About Cicadas.

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May 28, 2014

Chremistica umbrosa

Filed under: Chremistica,Singapore — by @ 4:57 am

Chremistica umbrosa can be found in South-East Asia, in particular Singapore. If you go to see them, bring an umbrella. I don’t know why these cicadas pee this often, but I imagine they are eliminating some toxin or waste or chemical (sugar, perhaps) that is not good for them.

Watch the videos:

May 26, 2014

Tibicen superbus videos

Filed under: Tibicen,Video — Tags: — by @ 9:40 am

YouTube has lots of videos of cicadas. Here is a playlist of one of the prettiest North American cicadas, Tibicen superbus:

Tibicen superbus, aka the Superb Cicada, can be found in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.

May 24, 2014

Cicada Myths

Filed under: Cicada Anatomy,Periodical — by @ 12:49 pm

Busting Cicada Myths

There are many myths (widely held but false beliefs or ideas) about cicadas. Time to bust some cicada myths.

Myth 1: Cicadas are sleeping when they are underground.

There’s a popular Twitter and Tumblr meme that (mis)states the following “if cicadas can sleep for 17 years and then wake up only to scream and reproduce so can i”. The actual tweet doesn’t say “reproduce”, but I want to keep it clean.

American periodical cicadas aren’t sleeping the entire 17 years they’re underground. Much of the time they’re digging tunnels and building feeding cells, tapping into roots and feeding, vying with other cicadas for space along a crowded root system, growing (they experience four phases or instars while underground), avoiding unfavorable conditions like flooding, and possibly actively avoiding predators like moles and voles. Yes, cicadas can sleep — or at least the insect version of sleep called torpor — but they are definitely not asleep for 17 years.

That said cicadas do spend their time screaming (the males) and procreating once above ground.

Myth 2: All cicadas have a 17 year life cycle.

This is false. Only three species, out of the thousands of cicada species in the world, have a 17 year life cycle: Magicicada septendecim, Magicicada cassini, and Magicicada septendecula.

Myth 3: All cicadas have periodical life cycles and synchronized emergences.

This is false. Only seven species in the United States (belonging to the genus Magicicada), and a few species in Asia (belonging to the genus Chremistica 1) have been confirmed to have periodical life cycles and synchronized emergences.

All other species of cicadas emerge annually, although in some years they are more plentiful than in others.

Myth 4: All cicadas live a prime number of years.

Many cicadas live a prime number of years, but some do not. Chremistica ribhoi, the World Cup cicada, has four year life cycle.

Myth 5: A long, periodical, prime number life cycle has allowed American periodical cicadas to avoid gaining a predator.

American periodical cicadas have avoided gaining an animal predator that specifically predates them, but they haven’t avoided a fungus. Massospora cicadina is a fungal parasite of Magicicada cicadas.

Male Magicicada septendecim infected with Massospora cicadina fungus

That said, just about any animal will eat an American periodical cicada, so they definitely get eaten. They get eaten a lot.

Myth 6: Cicadas make their well-know sound by stridulation, like crickets, grasshoppers & katydids.

It is true that some cicadas can make noise by stridulation, making sound by rubbing body parts.

However, and this is a huge however, the sound cicadas are known for is made by organs found in male cicadas called tymbals. Tymbals are a pair of ribbed membranes, that produce the cicada’s sound when they are flexed in and out by muscles. The mechanism is like the popping sound made when the plastic of a soda pop bottle is flexed in and out.

Tymbal

Cicadas can also make sound by flicking or clapping their wings.

Myth 7: Cicadas eat vegetation.

This is false. Cicadas lack the mouth parts to chew and swallow vegetable matter. Your tomatoes are safe around cicadas. Rather than eating solid food, cicadas ingest xylem, which is a type of tree sap that cicadas drink through their straw-like mouthparts.

Myth 8: American periodical cicadas are locusts.

Cicadas are not locusts. Locusts are a form of grasshopper. People confuse cicadas with locusts because both aggregate in massive numbers.

This is an image of a locust:
Locust

Characteristic Locust Cicada
Order Orthoptera Hemiptera
Hind Legs Giant hind legs for jumping Hind legs about the same size as other legs; great for climbing and perching.
What they eat Everything green they can find to eat Xylem sap
They’re in your town All the plants in your town have been stripped bare Cool UFO movie soundtrack sounds during the day

9) If you see a W appear in a cicada’s wings it means there will be a war. If you see a P, there will be peace.

This is the most mythical of cicada myths and has no basis in fact. That said, here’s the W:

W in cicada wing

1 Hajong, S.R. 2013. Mass emergence of a cicada (homoptera: cicadidae) and its capture methods and consumption by villagers in ri-bhoi district of Meghalaya. Department of Zoology, North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong – 793 022, Meghalaya, India.

May 13, 2014

Cicadas, Social Media and Citizen Science

Filed under: Citizen Science,Mail and Comments — by @ 3:09 am

Want to meet other cicada fans, help with cicada science projects, or simply check out cicada photos, images, or video? Try these projects and links.

Connect to Cicada Mania

Cicada Mania on FacebookCicada Mania on FlickrCicada Mania on TwitterCicada Mania on YouTubeCicada Mania on Vimeo

Magicicada.org Mapping Project

In 2014, contribute your Magicicada/Periodical/17 & 13 Year cicada sightings to Magicicada.org. They will add your report to their Google map.

Magicicada.org

Citizen Science Projects

Want to participate in a cicada citizen science project? Check out the cicada science projects on Cicada Central. There is the The Simon Lab Nymph Tracking Project and a Magicicada Biology Class Exercise.

If you are in Ohio or Kentucky and spot a periodical cicada this year (2014), send a geo-tagged cellphone photo to Gene Kritsky.

Your Wild Life wants your dead cicadas! They will use them to study the effects of urbanization (pollution, etc.) on the cicadas.

Discuss cicadas on Twitter

Use hash tags like #cicadas for general cicada issues. Use @cicadamania to get my attention.

Cicada Mania on Twitter

Discuss cicadas on Facebook

Once you’re done reporting your cicada sighting to magicicada.org, head over to Facebook to discuss your cicada experiences.

Cicada Mania Discussion Board on Facebook

Discuss cicadas with cicada experts

If you’re serious about cicadas, try the Entomology Cicadidae Yahoo group.

Entomology Cicadidae Yahoo group

Share your cicada photos, sounds and videos

Share your cicada photos and videos with the world:

Cicada Photos Group on Flickr

Cicadas on Pinterest (note, there’s no guarantee just photos of cicadas will show up)

Search Instagram photos for cicadas (note, there’s no guarantee just photos of cicadas will show up)

Cicada Mania Videos and Audio:

Cicada Mania on Vimeo

Cicada Mania YouTube

Update:

If you want to tag a species, you can use what’s called a “machine tag” or “triple tag” (see Wikipedia article on Tags).

taxonomy:binomial=Magicicada tredecim
taxonomy:binomial=Magicicada neotredecim
taxonomy:binomial=Magicicada tredecassini
taxonomy:binomial=Magicicada tredecula

If you’re tagging on sites that use spaces instead of commas (like flickr) put them in quotes when you enter them.

May 8, 2014

Gaeana atkinsoni from the Uttara Kannada district in India

Filed under: Gaeana,India,Raghu Ananth — by @ 1:46 am

Here’s a cicada I never thought I would see, but thanks to Raghu Ananth, here are two photos of a Tosena sibyla Gaeana atkinsoni .

Tosena sibylla from Uttara Kannada district in India by Raghu Ananth 2

This photo was taken on May 2nd, 2009:

Tosena sibylla from Uttara Kannada district in India by Raghu Ananth

Note the characteristic double stripes on the fore wings. Note how the smaller stripe doesn’t make it all the way to the claval fold.

Here are observations about this cicada provided by Raghu Ananth:

Brief description -
The cicada has red eyes, red thorax with black patch above, red abdomen, black wings with yellow veins and a large yellow patch lines on the wings.

Numbers. found – several dozens.
Habitat – tree barks near forest path
length – 4-5 cms

The orange-red coloured cicada is one of the beautiful cicadas in the forests. It has a red body, red eyes and black wings with yellow patches. During one of our trips to the evergreen forests in the Uttara Kannada district (Karnataka), we spotted two of them camouflaged on the bark of each tree, actively walking up and down and then appearing a colourful red when in flight from one bark of the tree to another. Their singing, however, seemed not in sync with each another. On our approach they would try to hide behind the bark or fly to a distant tree.

This illustration of a T. sibylla Gaeana atkinsoni comes from the document A monograph of oriental cicadidae (1892) by William Lucas Distant.

Tosena sibylla

Updated (5/8/2014) with a video by Harinath Ravichandran:

April 28, 2014

Periodical Cicada Turrets Spotted in Chilo, OH

Filed under: Brood OHKY,Magicicada,Periodical,Roy Troutman — by @ 7:48 pm

Roy Troutman spotted and photographed periodical cicada turrets in Chilo Lock 34 Park in Chilo, OH. We expect 13 year cicadas to emerge in Ohio and Kentucky this year, and this is proof it will happen.

Chilo Lock 34 Park

This group of cicadas is not officially aligned with a Brood, but given enough research, documentation and population samples, I imagine they’ll be aligned with Brood XXII (although they might be genetically different from the cicadas in LA and MS). TBD.

April 27, 2014

Cicada anatomy photo by Santisuk Vibul. Dundubia sp.


Cicada anatomy photo by Santisuk Vibul. Dundubia sp.

This photo points out the Tymbal (the organ that makes the cicada’s signature sound), the Tympanum (their hearing organ), the Operculum (which covers the Tympanum), and its wings.

More cicada photos by Santisuk Vibul.

April 20, 2014

Song of a Dundubia sp. cicada recorded by Santisuk Vibul

Filed under: Santisuk Vibul,Sounds,Thailand — by @ 8:50 am

Here’s the song of a cicada belonging to the Dundubia genus recorded by Santisuk Vibul in Bangkok, Thailand.

April 19, 2014

The World Cup Cicada, Chremistica ribhoi

Filed under: Chremistica,India,Sudhanya Hajong — Tags: — by @ 8:32 am

cicada soccer

Chremistica ribhoi Hajong and Yaakop 2013 is a cicada that lives in the Ri-Boi district of India. C. ribhoi is known as the World Cup cicada because it emerges every four years in synch with the World Cup association football (soccer) tournament.

C. ribhoi is known locally as Niangtasar. It only lives in a very small area: Saiden village (N 25’51’37.1’’; E 091’51’16.3”) and Lailad (N 25’55’09.7” E 091’46’25.0”) situated on the northern part of the state of Meghalaya. The cicada can be identified by the presence of two white spots on either side of the anterior abdominal segment.

Researcher Sudhanya Hajong is gearing up to study these cicadas, since this is the year they will emerge. Ri-Boi area locals use these cicadas as a food source and fish bait. These cicadas are threatened by deforestation (cutting down forests for agricultural purposes). Sudhanya plans to educate locals about conserving them and protecting their habitat.

Most of the facts in the post come from the following document: Hajong, S.R. 2013. Mass emergence of a cicada (homoptera: cicadidae) and its capture methods and consumption by villagers in ri-bhoi district of Meghalaya. Department of Zoology, North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong – 793 022, Meghalaya, India.

Thanks to Chris Simon of The Simon Lab at UCONN for providing the information that made this post possible.

Note: the image in this article is not an accurate depiction of C. ribhoi. :)


April 15, 2014

Cicada Beer and Brood XXII

Filed under: Brood XXII,Pop Culture — by @ 4:18 am

Southern Prohibition Brewing is offering Cicada themed (but not flavored) beer this year. Just in time for Brood XXII.

Cicada Beer

Their site says cicadas are their favorite “invasive species”, but cicadas are not an invasive species, however it can feel like an invasion when periodical cicadas arrive.

BTW, here’s the first news article about Brood XXII I’ve found. It’s from the LSU AgCenter and features Christopher Carlton, LSU AgCenter entomologist and director of the Louisiana State Arthropod Museum.

No signs of Brood XXII cicadas on social media yet.

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