Cicada Mania

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June 22, 2024

Neocicada hieroglyphica male adult and shed skins

Filed under: Neocicada — Tags: — Dan @ 12:58 pm

Some Neocicada hieroglyphica hieroglyphica photos from my cellphone.

All photos captured in Brendan T. Byrne State Park, in New Jersey.

Neocicada hieroglyphica exuvia (skin/shell):
Exuvia lit by the sun

Neocicada hieroglyphica exuvia (skin/shell):
Inside the exuvia

Neocicada hieroglyphica ventral view:
Neocicada hieroglyphica ventral view

Neocicada hieroglyphica side view:
Neocicada hieroglyphica side view

Neocicada hieroglyphica dorsal view:
Neocicada hieroglyphica dorsal view

Cicadas of the New Jersey Pine Barrens

Filed under: United States — Dan @ 8:27 am

The New Jersey Pine Barrens aka Pinelands or simply “Pines” is a large forested area of southern New Jersey known for its pine trees, sandy soils, culture, and history. It is called the Pine Barrens because the soil is not suitable for livestock or farming, except for acid-loving native plants like blueberries and cranberries. It is also home to a variety of carnivorous plants and orchids, rarely found elsewhere in the state. Culturally, it is known for myths like the Jersey Devil, real legends like Dr. James Still and blueberry cultivator Elizabeth Coleman White, residents known as “Pineys”, John McPhee’s book The Pine Barrens, folk music, and some of the best ice cream in New Jersey (White Dotte Dairy Bar, Evergreen Dairy Bar). The Pinelands have been the host of many industries including iron (from bog iron), charcoal, glass, timber, decorative flowers, cranberry and blueberry farming. Ecologically, the Pinelands are an oasis in a state otherwise known for sprawling condominiums, massive warehouses and industrial wastelands. Hopefully the Pinelands remains ecologically pure in the future, as it does today.

Amongst the pine trees and oaks that dominate the area, there are cicadas to match them. The heart of the Pinelands are dominated by — as you might guess — by Pitch Pine trees (Pinus rigida). White Oaks (Quercus alba) are found throughout the region, and notably around its perimeter. You’ll also find juniper trees here and there, especially in Cape May county, and deciduous trees like Maples where people settled the land and on the very edges of the region. I wonder if the screams of cicadas are mistaken for the screams of the Jersey Devil!

Caution: most of the Pinelands is protected. Do not take specimens home. Take photos and videos, but leave the cicadas in the Pinelands.

Stay alert: there are bears, rattlesnakes, deer ticks, mosquitoes and biting flies in the Pine Barrens. The area is also prone to fire, partly because of the sappy pine trees, which rely on the heat of a fire to open their cones.

Annual species:

Neocicada hieroglyphica aka the Hieroglyphic Cicada

Where: everywhere there are pine trees, but Brendan T. Byrne, Bass River, Batsto Village, and Wharton State Park for certain. This species of cicadas loves pines.
When: June and July.
What they sound like:
©Insect Singers.
What they look like:
Neocicada hieroglyphica dorsal view

Neotibicen davisi davisi:

Where: everywhere there are pines. They’re documented in Cape May county, and I’ve personally heard them in Burlington County in the Franklin Parker preserve.
When: July-September.
They sound like a power tool grinding metal:
©Insect Singers.
Thumb - davisi - Paul Krombholz
© Paul Krombholz

Neotibicen canicularis aka Dog-Day Cicada, dark morph/form:

Where: everywhere there are pines.
When: July-September.
They also sound like a power tool grinding metal:
©Insect Singers.
N. canicularis varies a lot in terms of appearance, from green, brown & black camouflage patterns, to a mostly-black appearance in the Pines.
Neotibicen canicularis

Megatibicen grossus/auletes aka the Northern Dusk-Singing Cicada

Where: everywhere you’ll find tall White Oaks.
When: July-September.
This is the largest cicada in North America. It calls after sunset. It sounds like the Jersey Devil. Exactly.
©Insect Singers.
What they look like:
Old Ladies

Neotibicen latifasciatus aka the Cape May Crier or Coastal Scissor Grinder

Where: where you find juniper aka “Cedar” trees. Found along the Jersey Shore around Sea Isle and Cape May peninsula, and also inland in Cape May County in Pineland areas like Belleplain State Forest.
When: August-September.
What they sound like:
©Insect Singers.
What they look like:
Dorsal view of two latifasciatus males

These three species are found on the outskirts of pine areas and where people introduced deciduous trees or evergreens like spruces:

Neotibicen tibicen tibicen aka Morning or Swamp cicada

Where: this species is very flexible in terms of host trees.
When: July-August.
What they sound like:

What they look like:
Color variations in chloromera tibicen

Neotibicen linnei aka Linne’s Cicada

Where: On the borders of the Pinelands where you find deciduous trees.
When: July-September.
What they sound like:
©Insect Singers.
What they look like:
Tom Lehmkuhl send us this photo of an uninvited house guest (Neotibicen linnei).
© Tom Lehmkuhl

Notes: They’re visually similar to Neotibicen canicularis, but they have a prominent bend in the wing, and they do not have a dark form.

Neotibicen lyricen lyricen aka the Lyric Cicada

Where: On the borders of the Pinelands where you find deciduous trees.
When: July.
What they sound like:
©Insect Singers.
What they look like:
Neotibicen lyricen

Notes: The Neotibicen lyricen engelhardti (Davis, 1910) aka Dark Lyric Cicada variety might also be present.

Periodical species

Magicicada broods II,X,XIV are found in the Pines in small numbers. I am uncertain which species, but Magicicada cassini (Fisher, 1852) aka Cassini 17-Year Cicada and Magicicada septendecula Alexander and Moore, 1962 are likely.

Brood II (back in 2030): is found in Belleplain State Forest; in the area north of rt. 40 & east of rt. 54; and in Atlantic County in the Egg Harbor City area. In 1998 they were found in Stafford Forge State Conservation Area, and along rt. 70 near Leisure Village.

Brood X (back in 2038): is found east of rt. 206 south of Chatsworth Road, and Vineland.

Brood XIV (back in 2024): was found in 1988 north of rt. 70 in Manchester, and in Linwood (just outside the Pines).

A map of the Pinelands:
New Jersey Pinelands

Map is from Wikimedia Commons.


Books about the Pinelands from my personal collection:

  • Batsto Village, Jewel of the Pines by Barbara Solem
  • Blackbeard the Pirate and Other Stories of the Pine Barrens by Larona Homer
  • Pine Barrens Legends & Lore by William McMahon
  • The Pine Barrens by John McPhee
  • A Pine Barrens Odyssey by Howard P. Boyd
  • Iron in the Pines by Arthur D. Pierce
  • The Ecological Pine Barrens of New Jersey by Howard P. Boyd
  • Wildflowers of the Pine Barrens of New Jersey by Howard P. Boyd
  • The Vegetation of the New Jersey Pine-Barrens by John W. Harshberger
  • Protecting the New Jersey Pinelands by Beryl R. Collins and Emily W.B. Russell, editors.

June 19, 2024

How rare are Magicicada cicadas with white or blue eyes?

Filed under: Eye Color | Magicicada — Dan @ 3:49 pm

White eyed male Magicicada septendecim Metuchen NJ 2

How rare are Magicicadas cicadas with white or blue eyes?
Do we include yellowish-white/cream-colored eyes? Gray eyes?

“One in a million!”
“One in 100,000?”
“One in 1000”?

Let’s look at some data. Since its beginning, as of June 19th, 2024, iNaturalist has had 27,294 Research Grade Magicicada sightings, and 136 Research Grade “Magicicada eye color=blue/white” cicadas. So, in the iNaturalist data set, one in 201 Magicicada have white or blue eyes.

The number of white/blue eyed Magicicada is without a doubt more than one in 201, but not one in a million. Personally, I’ve found at least one cicada with white or blue eyes per emergence. My guess is the number is closer to one in 10,000.

But don’t tell anyone who is excited about a one in a million find. Let them have their fun and happiness. 🙂

More articles about eye color.

Cicada Bug Coloring & Activity Book

Filed under: Books — Dan @ 8:57 am

It appears that this Cicada Bug Coloring & Activity Book is the second most popular cicada book on Amazon. This took me by surprise. I have not read it, so I cannot vouch for its quality.

coloring book

Here’s the top 5 that I see:

  1. New Brood XIX and XIII Cicada Book by Dr. Gene Kritsky
  2. Cicada Bug Coloring & Activity Book
  3. Cecily Cicada, a cicada book for kids
  4. The Cicada Olympics: Engaging Kids in Live Insect Activities
  5. The Cicadas Are Coming

June 18, 2024

A Basic Guide to the Meaning of the Letters on Cicada Wings

Filed under: Folklore — Dan @ 3:04 pm

This is a web version of this old PDF.

There is an “old wives tale” that says that if you see a “W” on a cicada’s wing that there will be war, and if you see a “P” there will be peace. What you see is in the eyes of the “bugholder”, but I’ve personally only seen a “W”, which almost seems logical, because there is always a war going on somewhere.

Here's a basic guide to the Letters and what they mean: A "W" means War.

A "p" means Peace, or maybe Plague. An "M" means More Cicadas! A Lighting Bolt shape means Taking Care of Business Quickly. A "7" means Zombies!! An "R" means the Rapture!!!

A series of bars is an indication of how strong your cell phone signal is.

June 16, 2024

The cicada emergence is over. Now what?

Filed under: Magicicada | Periodical — Dan @ 7:11 am

“Will you miss me when I’m gone?”
end of the line

As I write this, the Brood XIX emergence is all but over, and Brood XIII has about two weeks left to go.

So what’s next? Well, I’ll tell you.

Upload your photos to iNaturalist and the Cicada Safari app

You can help cicada researchers by uploading your photos to iNaturalist or the Cicada Safari app.

iNaturalist is excellent for all animals — plus plants and fungi — not just cicadas. You will find yourself using it all year long. Cicada Safari is specifically for cicadas.

Learn about Annual species of cicadas

There are more to cicadas that just Periodical cicadas.

Cicadas exist on every continent except for Antarctica, and in every State in the U.S. except for Hawaii and Alaska!

Learn about the most-common cicadas that live in the same areas as periodical cicadas, and then learn about the variety of cicadas found around the world.

Preserve your cicada specimens

Saving cicada skins (molts/shells) and wings is easy. Just keep them dry.

Preserving Periodical cicadas can be challenging because their eye colors fade and because they’re fatty and smell.

If you want to preserve eye colors, keeping them in alcohol seems to work best.

Some people dip them in acetone to mitigate the smell from decaying fat, but I’ve never tried it.

Otherwise, keep them dry and in a cedar box. I use silica gel packs to keep them dry. Cedar repels small insects that will eat your cicada collection. Moth balls work as well to keep tiny insects away from your collection.

If you want to pin your cicadas, so the wings are spread out, you have to do it while the cicadas are still moist. Plenty of places have supplies, like Carolina Biological Supply. I’ve softened hard cicadas by placing them in Tupperware/Rubbermaid containers with moist paper towels and a moth ball to prevent mold.

Make a scrapbook of your cicada memories

Make a scrapbook or photo album of your cicada memories.

This is something I do every year, though I tend to mix it up with non-cicada photos as well.

photo album

June 8, 2024

Periodical cicada Brood XIV (14) will emerge in 2025 in Thirteen States

Filed under: Brood XIV | Magicicada | Periodical — Dan @ 8:53 am

Periodical cicada Brood XIV (14) will emerge in the spring of 2025 in Georgia, Kentucky, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia. The last time this brood emerged was in 2008.

What, when, where:


  • Millions of these:
    Adult, Nymph Molting
  • Cicada insects with a 17-year life cycle.
  • Some people call them “locusts” but they’re really cicadas.
  • Which species: All three 17-year species, Magicicada septendecim, Magicicada cassini and Magicicada septendecula. How to tell the difference between the species.
  • NOT the green ones that arrive annually.

When: Typically beginning in mid-May and ending in late June. These cicadas will begin to emerge approximately when the soil 8″ beneath the ground reaches 64 degrees Fahrenheit. A nice, warm rain will often trigger an emergence.

Other tips: these cicadas will emerge after the trees have grown leaves, and, by my own observation, around the same time Iris flowers bloom.


  • Georgia counties: Fannin, Lumpkin, Rabun, Union
  • Indiana counties: Crawford, Harrison, Perry
  • Kentucky counties: Adairville, Anderson, Barren, Bath, Bell, Bourbon, Boyd, Bracken, Campbell, Carter, Clinton, Edmonson, Fayette, Franklin, Floyd, Gallatin, Grant, Hardin, Harrison, Henderson, LaRue, Laurel, Leslie, Madison, Montgomery, Nelson, Nicholas, Pendleton, Pulaski, Rowan, Scott, Shelby, Whitley
  • Kentucky cities: Bowling Green, Corbin, Flemingsburg, Frankfort, Greensburg, Hazard, Radcliff, Richmond
  • Massachusetts counties: Barnstable, Plymouth
  • Maryland counties: Allegany, Washington
  • New Jersey counties: Atlantic, Camden, Ocean (NJ records are from older literature).
  • New York counties: Nassau, Suffolk
  • Ohio counties: Adams, Brown, Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Gallia, Hamilton, Highland, Ross, Warren
  • Ohio cities: Batavia, Cincinnati area, Loveland
  • North Carolina counties: Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Henderson, McDowell, Mitchell, Wilkes
  • North Carolina cities: Asheville, Moravian Falls, north-west of Nashville, Wilkesboro
  • Pennsylvania counties: Adams, Berks, Blair, Cambria, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Cumberland, Huntingdon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Lycoming, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, Union
  • Pennsylvania cities: Bear Gap
  • Tennessee counties: Bledsoe, Blount, Campbell, Cheatham, Claiborne, Cocke, Coffee, Cumberland, Davidson, Grainger, Grundy, Hancock, Hawkins, Jefferson, Marion, Roane, Robertson, Rutherford, Sevier, Sumner, Williamson
  • Tennessee cities: Cades Cove, Muddy Pond,
  • Virginia counties: Botetourt, Lee, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Wise
  • West Virginia counties: Cabell, Kanawha, Mason, Mingo, Putnam, Wyoming
  • West Virginia cities: Huntington

More Location Tips:

More facts and fun:

1907 Map Marlatt, C.L.. 1907. The periodical cicada. Washington, D.C. : U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Bureau of Entomology.

Marlatt 1907 14 Brood XIV

A more modern map made by Roy Troutman:

Brood XIV Map by Roy Troutman

June 3, 2024

Nel PreTech Corporation created a CT scan of a female Magicicada

Filed under: Magicicada — Dan @ 6:01 am

This is an interesting story from LinkedIn. The folks at Nel PreTech Corporation created a CT scan of a female Magicicada!

CT Scan of a Cicada Insect

May 25, 2024

Finding cicada nymphs in the flower garden

Filed under: Nymphs — Dan @ 4:50 pm

Today I was digging in a flower garden that is mostly inhabited by thick-stemmed Montauk Daisies, and I found many cicada nymphs. The nearest tree is about 25 feet away — I guess any type of root will suffice for some cicadas.

They seem weak and disorientated, which makes sense since they’ve lived underground their whole lives.

There are Magicicada (Brood II), Neotibicen tibicen, Neotibicen lyricen, and Neotibicen linnei in the yard. I haven’t investigated which species these are yet, but I think it’s likely they’re not Magicicada because they were relatively large (bigger than a penny) and Brood II is 6 years away.

May 11, 2024

Samuel Orr has a new Instagram account

Filed under: Samuel Orr — Dan @ 4:40 pm

Many of you will remember Samuel Orr from his film Return of the Cicadas.

He has a new Instagram account and website.

Sam is well known for his cicada photography and videography.

Return of the Cicadas from motionkicker on Vimeo.

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