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May 31, 2005

Brood XI: Alive?

Filed under: Brood XI | Magicicada — Dan @ 11:29 am

It is possible that Brood XI is not extinct. Brood XI hasn’t been recorded since in 1950’s, however, David Marshall of the University of Connecticut “would not be surprised if there are small patches of them that have been missed since much of southern New England is not that densely inhabited”.

If you’re in the Connecticut, Massachusetts, or Rhode Island area this spring and you hear or see a Magicicada, please let us know.

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

Marlatt 1907 11 Brood XI


  1. C. Bret Miller says:

    I’ve been somewhat obsessed with determining if Brood XI truly is extinct since I was a boy of six. I was born in 1982 and spent the first 18 years of my life in Bethlehem, CT. In the summer of 1988, when I was a wee lad of 6, my friend and I found a cicada on the side on the side of the road that appeared to be half dead. In retrospect, it likely had flown into a car windshield or suffered some similar fate. Anyhow, weakest it in a makeshift terrarium, but by the end of the day, it had died. Now, even back then I was somewhat of an amateur entomologist, and while I didn’t know about Brood XI or it’s plight, I was rather adept at insect identification. The point of all this is, I am quite certain that it was a periodical cicada, and not an annual one, such as the pervasive dog-day harvest fly. I say this as it undoubtedly had the distinctive black and yellow hollering and red eyes, and I was quite familiar with the local annual cicadas.

    So, upon growing up, living my life, earning my B.A., and later my M.S. (both, unfortunately in non-entomological fields,) I read of southern New England’s purportedly extinct magicicada brood. I looked for evidence of it in 2005 in areas around southern CT, but to no avail. So… I’m certain that was a periodical cicada we had, and I’m certain it was 1988. Could it have been potentially a straggler from the previous year’s Great Eastern Brood, Brood X? Absolutely. Actually, that’s a more probable explanation, as 17 year cicadas often have a few stragglers emerging in subsequent years. I say this because Northwestern CT was never known to be home to Brood XI, even when it was extant. That being said, stranger things certainly have happened, and in a town of (at the time) 2500 people, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if some old field was home to a few remaining members of Brood XI, and no one paying them much heed. So… that’s why I’ve always been fascinated with Brood XI. Heck, in PokĂ©mon Sapphire, I named my Ninjask (a PokĂ©mon whose name is a portmanteau of ninja and mask and is based upon a cicada,) Brood XI. Well, I’ll be looking all over Connecticut, and even parts of Rhode Island come the Summer of 2022. I hope any other amateur entomologist that stumbles across this message board does the same.

    Oh, as a final aside… I just wanted to mention that the 1988 Cicada was found just past the little old (there’s graves from the late 1600’s’ in there) cemetery on Bellamy Lane in Bethlehem. Right before the left onto Lake Drive towards Long Meadow pond.

  2. Albert Chen says:

    Ah, I see that the post and last message were from 2005. IT is now 2021… what a hell of a ways we have come.

    I stumbled upon this website by looking up “Brood XI” on google. I was drawn into researching cicadas since I read a news article that said Brood X was coming in May of 2021 (this year). In the article it mentioned how Brood XI is now extinct, so I looked up Brood XI

    Anyways, in the 16 years since the last comment (could you imagine?) there has been no updates on brood XI. We will see if anything else comes, but I think it is not likely

    I thought to write this message since I saw that there were no new posts, and wanted to leave a message for any new visitors that might stumble upon this site.

    It is very likely that this post will not be seen again for a very, very long time. I hope this message finds anybody in the future well. Goodbye, my friends!

  3. AJay says:

    With much warmer weather about to arrive by Sunday, this will be the time to look. South facing slopes should be best. I will also be looking for possible stragglers around Connetquot River State Park soon and will travel to Princeton.

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