Tibicen-composite

Tibicen species of the Jackson Mississippi area.

Paul Krombholz's description:

[This] is a composite picture of seven of the eight Tibicen species that I have identified in the Jackson, Mississippi area. The missing one is T. linnei, which is not very common in this area. The pictures are all sized the same so that size differences are real. The smallest one is T. davisi, at around 3.9 cm long, and the largest one is T. marginalis, a real monster at 7 cm. Almost as large is T. auletes at 6.5 cm.

Some notes on the species:
T. davisi has a short siren-like song very similar to that of T. canicularis in the northern states. T. davisi and T. figurata last longer in the fall than the other species.

T. figurata has a short, rapid song, a ringing ning-ning-ning-ning-ning that rises and falls in intensity. It is about as long as the familiar rattle of T. chloromera. T. figurata always has a rich red-brown or mahagony coloration with no green.

T. auletes is a big, powerful singer with a deep, penetrating dir-dir-dir-dir-dirr-dirrrrr song that cuts through the noise of other evening singers.

T. marginalis, the largest at 7 cm from head to wing tip, has a song of no fixed length. Males can get cranked up and sing continuously for minutes at a time. Their song is loud and gritty, and it is pulsed at a rate of about three pulses per second. When I was a kid in Steubenville, Ohio, T. marginalis was only found along the Ohio River in huge cottonwood trees. In Mississippi, it is much more widespread. It is a very colorful, as well as a very large cicada.

I am not sure about the one I am calling T. pruinosa. The recorded songs of T. pruinosa all sound more rapid---ear-ear-ear-ear--. What I hear around here is much slower---eeeearrrrr-eeeeeeaarrrrrrr-eeeeeeeeaarrrrrrr, etc. In fact the song is exactly like the song of T. latifasciata on the Cicada Central web site. However, everybody else seems to refer to T. pruinosa as the common one, and so I am going with that name. The orange border to the "Macdonalds arches" helps distinguish this species. Of all the Tibicen in this area, this is perhaps the loudest for its size.

T. chloromera is common all over eastern North America. It sings the most in the morning when it gets warmed up at around 10:00 AM. It often sings on saplings low enough that it can be caught without having to climb. It has a larger, more swollen mesothorax than other species. I wonder if that makes it a more powerful flier.

T. lyricen sings in tall trees. Its song is hard to describe, but it has a relaxing quality to it as it effortlessly swells from a quiet buzz to the full-throated, somewhat bubbly song, and then back to the simple buzz.

Date: 10/10/2009
Size:
Full size: 953x743
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