Here’s some news for cicada fanatics: the movie Cicada Princess has officially wrapped post production and was and successfully submitted it for consideration to the Sundance Film Festival. Read more about it. Congratulations to film maker Mauricio Baiocchi.
The Cicada Princess is a stop-motion animated movie featuring anthropomorphic cicadas. It was funded via Kickstarter contributions. Visit the Cicada Princess website. Here at Cicada Mania, we’re interested in both real and fictional cicadas.
Yesterday I visited my family’s house in Metuchen, New Jersey. I looked in the backyard and found loads of cicada holes — a hole every 6″ to 12″. I was also clear that animals, like squirrels and raccoons, had been digging at many of the holes. Today I got a spade and gently dug around one of the holes. About 3″ down I found a Magicicada cassini nymph, about 1 inch in length, legs wiggling slowly, red eyes.
Here’s the hole:
Here is the nymph:
It’s clear that the cicadas are ready to emerge, and are just waiting for the temperatures to get a little warmer (to warm their bodies to around 64 degrees F). Today reached 72 degrees F. It will reach 77 F on Friday, and some will likely emerge. Saturday temperatures will be back down to 39 F. These cicadas will likely be confused for a little while.
More holes, many of which were widened by predators looking for a cicada snack!
Gene Kritsky is one of the leading periodical cicada researchers. He’s asked that we help with his research regarding temperature and cicada emergence. He needs to know the date that cicadas first emerge, and then the date when they appear in large numbers in a given locality. To contact Gene with your findings, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are the details:
I wanted to alert you to a paper that I published with Roy after Brood XIV. I had placed sensors at cicada depths in Roy’s backyard, and also hung others in the area trees. We recorded the temperatures at 10 minute intervals at all the locations. I was trying to find a weather model to predict soil temperatures without using probes. This would be cheaper for people wanting to monitor an impending emergence. This research is based on what potato farmers do to track the growth of their crop.
We found that the average of the running three day and two day mean temperatures was a good predictor of soil temps.
The formula along with the extended forecast can be used to forecast soil temperatures. Once we get the 64º F soil temps and a nice rain we got emergences. I am hoping to test this model again this year, which in part is why I emailing you. What I need to know is the date that cicadas first emerge, and then the date when they appear in large numbers in a given locality. I will then use weather data to check the soil model. Can you ask readers to send me that info? Many thanks.
I noticed that the radiolab Cicada Tracker folks are showing that soil temperatures throughout the emergence area hit 64 degrees this week, but few if any cicadas emerged from the ground. Why not? My guess is that the soil was not warm enough for a long enough time to warm the bodies of the cicadas to 64.5 degrees F. They might have warmed up for a few minutes, started heading toward the surface, but then cooled off again and stopped their ascent.
It’s a good thing that cicadas did not emerge this week. They would have arrived to trees with few leaves (which offer a little camouflage), cool weather and lots of rain.
I hope that the radiolab Cicada Tracker folks are continually sampling temperature information, so we can get a clear picture of not only the temperature that causes them to emerge, but how long it takes to transfer the warmth of the soil to the bodies of the cicadas.
If you’re interested in the topic, a great paper to read is Thermal Synchronization of Emergence in Periodical “17-year” Cicadas (Homoptera, Cicadidae, Magicicada) by James Edward Heath, American Midland Naturalist, Vol. 80, No. 2. (Oct., 1968), pp. 440-448.
Here is a quote:
Soil temperature at 20-cm [7.87 in] depth in seven locations averaged 17.89 C [64.202 F] at the time of emergence, regardless of date. Cicadas emerging from burrows had average body temperatures of 18.04 C [64.472 F]. Synchrony in emergence may be due to animals reaching a critical threshold temperature.
There is also a minimum temperature cicadas need to be able to fly and sing, and a temperature at which they get too hot and seek shade. Read more about that.
The first one belongs to the genus Angamiana, and I think it is an Angamiana floridula.
The second cicada belongs to the genus Tosena.
I asked David Emery for IDs for these cicadas. The top one is “a very dead A.floridula” and the Tosena is “likely to be T.fasciata (melanoptera does not have orange anywhere), even though the dorsal markings are pretty bleached”.
We are excited to announce the availability of a document by Allen F. Sanborn and Polly K. Phillips titled Biogeography of the Cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) of North America, North of Mexico. This document features distribution maps for North American cicada species! This document is an excellent companion to The Cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadoidea: Cicadidae) of North America North of Mexico by Allen F. Sanborn and Maxine S. Heath (link to that book).
Abstract: We describe and illustrate the biogeography of the cicadas inhabiting continental North America, north of Mexico. Species distributions were determined through our collecting efforts as well as label data from more than 110 institutional collections. The status of subspecies is discussed with respect to their distributions. As we have shown over limited geographic areas, the distribution of individual species is related to the habitat in which they are found. We discuss the biogeography of the genera with respect to their phylogenetic relationships. California is the state with the greatest alpha diversity (89 species, 46.6% of taxa) and unique species (35 species, 18.3% of taxa). Texas, Arizona, Colorado and Utah are the states with the next greatest alpha diversity with Texas, Arizona and Utah being next for unique species diversity. Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island are the states with the least amount of cicada diversity. Diversity is greatest in states and areas where there is a diversity of plant communities and habitats within these communities. Mountainous terrain also coincides with increases in diversity. Several regions of the focus area require additional collection efforts to fill in the distributions of several species.
Keywords: cicada; distribution; Diceroprocta; Tibicen; Okanagana; Okanagodes; Cacama; Magicicada; Platypedia; Cicadetta