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June 8, 2013

Brood II Cicada Video from 2013

Enjoy these videos of the Brood II Magicicada emergence from 2013.

Magicicada septendecim ovipositing

Magicicada septendecim ovipositing.

Periodical Cicadas in Merrill Park in Colonia NJ

Periodical Cicadas in Merrill Park in Colonia NJ.

Either a Magicicada cassini or septendecula

Either a Magicicada cassini or septendecula.

A calling Magicicada septendecim

A calling Magicicada septendecim.

June 6, 2013

How loud/noisy (in decibels) do periodical cicadas get?

Last Thursday Roy Troutman, Elias Bonaros and I traveled around central New Jersey, looking for cicadas. They were not hard to find. Elias found a location in Colonia that had a particularly loud Magicicada cassini chorusing center. Using my camera and Extech 407730 40-to-130-Decibel Digital Sound Level Meter, I recorded the calls of these cicadas and how loud they can get. The quality of the video isn’t the best because it’s a camera, not a video camera, but it is good enough.

Magicicada cassini chorusing center peaking at 85db (on Vimeo):

Magicicada cassini chorusing center peaking at 85db from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

Elias and Roy used finger snaps, mimicking the wing snaps of female cicadas, to trick the males into singing:

Magicicada cassini responding to fingersnaps (on Vimeo):

Magicicada cassini responding to fingersnaps from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

We placed the M. cassini directly on the microphone and got calls as high as 109 decibels, in this video:

Magicicada cassini calling at 109db in Colonia NJ from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

There were a few M. septendecim in the area as well. A Magicicada septendecim goes from a Court II to Court III call as soon as it crawls on the decibel meter, in this video.

Magicicada septendecim court 3 from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

The cicada choruses in Central New Jersey have no doubt gotten louder since last week. Hopefully on Sunday I’ll get back out to Central Jersey or Staten Island and make some recordings.

May 19, 2013

Tips for photographing adult Magicicadas for identification purposes

When photographing adult Magicicadas, particularly if you are interested in identifying their species and gender, it is important to photograph them from multiple angles: ventral (bottom) and lateral (left or right) particularly near the head. Please take photos of the dorsal (top), anterior (front), posterior (hind) and other angles, however ventral and left or right are the best sides to help identify the species.

We also encourage you to clean your fingernails and include an item which can be used to determine the size of the insect, like a ruler.

The ventral view allows us to determine the species and sex.

The following photo features a male (left) and female (right) Magicicada septendecim (Linnaeus, 1758). Note the orange striped abdomen, characteristic of the M. septendecim. Also, as with other cicada species, note that the female’s abdomen comes to a point, and the male’s abdomen is thicker and ends with a “blocky-shaped” structure.
Magicicada septendecula male and female by Osamu Hikino

The following photo features a female (left) and male (right) Magicicada cassini (Fisher, 1851). Note the lack of distinct orange stripes on the abdomen, characteristic of the M. cassini. Their abdomens are nearly completely black. Also note that the female’s abdomen comes to a point, and the male’s abdomen is thicker and ends with a “blocky-shaped” structure.
Magicicada cassini male and female by Osamu Hikino

Both these images were taken by the same photographer (Osamu Hikino) and we can use the size of his finger tips (nice clean nails) to compare the size of these two species. The M. cassini is relatively much smaller than the M. septendecim, which is why M. cassini is also known as the “dwarf cicada”.

I don’t have a good photo of the third species, the Magicicada septendecula Alexander and Moore, 1962 [view a photo of M. septendecula on another website]. The M. septendecula is similar to the M. cassini in size (hence smaller than the M. septendecula), but it has orange stripes like the M. septendecim, which is why it is important to get a photo of the left or right side of the insect so we can see the color of the pronotal extension.

The pronotal extension is an extension of the pronotum that lies between the Magicicada’s eye and its wing (outlined in green in the photo below). M. septendecim have orange coloring in that area, which gives us a key way to visually distinguish them from M. septendecula.

Orange marking behind eye used to identify -decim Magicicadas.

If you want to learn more about diagnosing the species and gender of cicadas (all species, not just Magicicada sp.) using photographs, track down the document Overview of Cicada Morphology by Allen F. Sanborn of Barry University.

I don’t want to discourage you from taking amazing photos of cicadas in every position and angle possible using all your fancy macro lenses and whatnot. All cicada photos are awesome, but only a few angles help us identify the insect.

May 18, 2013

Photos of Brood II Magicicada cicadas from Westfield, NJ

Filed under: Brood II,Magicicada,Photos & Illustrations — Tags: — Dan @ 8:57 am

These photos of adult Magicicada cicadas were taken in Westfield, NJ by Jim Occi on May 16th.

Click thumbnail images to see progressively larger versions of the images:

Adult Brood II Magicicada septendecim from Westfield NJ by Jim Occi

Adult Brood II Magicicada septendecim from Westfield NJ by Jim Occi

Adult Brood II Magicicada septendecim from Westfield NJ by Jim Occi

Adult Brood II Magicicada septendecim from Westfield NJ by Jim Occi

Adult Brood II Magicicada from Westfield NJ by Jim Occi

Adult Brood II Magicicada from Westfield NJ by Jim Occi

Adult Brood II Magicicada from Westfield NJ by Jim Occi

Adult Brood II Magicicada from Westfield NJ by Jim Occi

This photo is particularly interesting as the cicadas’s wings were damaged during the ecdysis (moulting) process and its tymbal (the ribbed structure that makes the cicada’s sound) is clearly exposed:

Adult Brood II Magicicada with damaged wings and visible tymbal from Westfield NJ by Jim Occi

Brood II cicada photos from Front Royal, Va

Filed under: Brood II,Magicicada,Periodical,Photos & Illustrations — Tags: — Dan @ 8:20 am

Nature photographer Candice Trimble of Front Royal, Va, sent us these Brood II Magicicada photos.

Click thumbnail images to see progressively larger versions of the images:

An adult Magicicada septendecim (Linnaeus 1758):
Adult Magicicada septendecim from Front Royal, Va by Candice Trimble

Magicicada exuvia (shell):
Magicicada exuvia from Front Royal, VA by Candice Trimble.

Magicicada adult (probably an M. septendecim):
Adult Magicicada sp. from Front Royal, Va by Candice Trimble

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