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August 24, 2014

It is possible to identify Tibicen just after they have molted

Paul Krombholz has come through with an awesome guide to identifying Tibicens just after they have molted. Click the image below for an even larger version.

It is possible to identify Tibicen species just after they have molted

Notes on the species from Paul:

T. pruinosus [formerly T. pruinosa]—Newly molted adult has darker mesonotum (top of mesothorax) than the very common T. chloromera. Abdomen is a golden orange color. Older adult has dark olive on lateral sides of mesonotum, lighter green below the “arches”.

T. pronotalis (formerly walkeri, marginalis)—Quite large. The reddish brown color can be seen on the mesonotum of newly molted adult. Older adult has solid green pronotum (top of prothorax) and red-brown markings on sides of mesonotum. Below the “arches” the mesonotum color can range from carmel to green. Head is black between the eyes.

T. tibicen [T. chloromerus, T. chloromera]—has large, swollen mesonotum, quite pale in a newly molted adult and almost entirely black in an older adult. Individuals from east coast can have large russet patches on sides of mesonotum. The white, lateral :”hip patches” on the anteriormost abdominal segment are always present, but the midline white area seen in my picture is sometimes absent.

T. davisi—Small. This is a variable species, but all have an oversized head which is strongly curved, giving it a ‘hammerhead’ appearance. Newly molted individuals are usually brown with blueish wing veins that will become brown, but some have more green in wing veins. Some may have pale mesonotums that will become mostly black. Older adults vary from brownish to olive to green markings on pronotum and mesonotum.

T. figuratus [formerly T. figurata]—a largish entirely brown cicada. Newly molted adult has a pink-brown coloration with some blueish hints. Older adult has chestnut-brown markings and no green anywhere. Head is not very wide in relation to the rest of the body. The small cell at the base of the forewing is black.

T. auletes—a large, wide-bodied cicada. Newly molted adult is very green, but the older adult loses most of the green, usually retaining an olive posterior flange of the pronotum. The dorsal abdomen of the adult has a lot of powdery white on the anterior and posterior segments with a darker band inbetween.

Here’s an update for this article (8 years later).

This is a series of photos of a T. tibicen tibicen as it gets darker in color (photo by Cicada Mania). This cicada will retain the green color in its eyes and pronotum, but its back will turn almost entirely black.

Teneral transition of a Tibicen tibicen tibicen cicada

August 12, 2012

Tibicen canicularis – Dog Star Rising

Filed under: Annual,Tibicen — Tags: , — Dan @ 9:34 am

Mid-August is approaching, and the “Dog Days” of summer are almost here. Sirius (the Dog Star) and the constellation Canis Major will soon begin to appear in the early morning sky. Now is also the time that Tibicen canicularis, the Dog Day Day cicada, is also making its presence known in the U.S.A.

This is a photo of a T. canicularis (Dog Day cicada) next to a T. davisi (Southern Dog Day cicada) by by Paul Krombholz:

T. canicularis looks quite different from T. davisi

T. canicularis has a green pronotal collar, green markings on its pronotum, and at least some, if not all, orange colors on its mesonotum (where the M is on the cicada’s back). T. canicularis sounds like (to me at least) a circular saw buzzing through a plank in wood in a neighbor’s garage.

Imagine that you are a farmer waking just before dawn and seeing the first signs of Sirius, the Dog Star, and then later in the day, hearing T. canicularis singing away in the trees surrounding your fields. Those two signs are signals that summer is reaching its peak, and harvest will start soon enough.

T. canicularis can be found in the following states and provinces: AR, CT, DC, IL, IN, IA, KS, ME, MB, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, NE, NB, NH, NJ, NY, NC, ND, NS, OH, ON, PA, PE, QC, RI, SC, SD, TN, VT, VA, WV, WI.

Here is a screen capture of the computer app Stellarium, with Canis Major and Sirius rising above the horizon before dawn.

Sirius rising

If you’re interested in stars, check out Stellarium. It is free.

Visit the Songs of Insects site for a nice photo and sound file of the Dog Day cicada. Also by their book Songs of Insects – is is inexpensive and comes with a CD.

September 5, 2006

An interesting question about Tibicen idenitfication

Filed under: Paul Krombholz,Tibicen — Tags: , — Dan @ 2:52 pm

Paul Krombholz has an interesting question about Tibicen identification.

In Kathy Hill’s picture of 18 species, T. canicularis looks quite different from T. davisi, but I have at least one T. davisi, captured in my back yard, that looks very similar to three canicularis individuals I caught in Northern Illinois a couple of weeks ago. The canicularis individuals all have the white “hip” spots and none of my davisi have them have them. T. davisi has a slightly larger head. The big question is, What features reliably distinguish the two species considering all the variety seen within species?

Tibicen davisi

August 26, 2006

Variation in Tibicen davisi

Filed under: Paul Krombholz,Tibicen — Tags: , — Dan @ 10:20 am

Paul Krombholz has discovered some interesting variations in the Tibicen davisi cicadas. I’m quoting Paul’s email in its entirety below.

Here is the composite photo showing variation in Tibicen davisi. The
additional one I wanted to add turned out not to be as dark as I thought,
but it has a different pattern. All these came from the trees in my
backyard in central Mississippi this season. Colors on the dorsal (top)
side vary from dark brown to green. Perhaps the most typical is the “olive”
one in the middle. On the ventral (bottom) side, the black abdominal stripe
varies from very wide to non-existent. Variation in the size of the black
abdominal stripe is not related to the color on the dorsal side, as I have
seen absolutely no abdominal stripe on both a greenish one and a very dark
brown one.

Davis described a variety of T. davisi—T davisi var. hardeni—which has
little or no abdominal stripe. However, it also has darkening next to the
wing veins of the seven marginal cells as in T. superbus
(http://static.flickr.com/31/60751246_f60d00e2a9.jpg?v=0), While its upper
side is “less rusty” than the typical T. davisi, its underside is also
green. (Dr. Alan Sanborn, personal communication). Since my examples only
vary as to the “greenness” of the upper side and to the size of the
abdominal stripe, none of them fit completely the description of var.
hardeni. If anyone finds a T. davisi that meets the description of var.
hardeni, I think Dr. Sanborn would like to know about it.

Variation in Tibicen davisi