Cicada Mania

Dedicated to cicadas, the most amazing insects in the world.

April 3, 2013

Cicada “Crowdsourcing”

Filed under: Brood II | Community Science | Magicicada | Periodical — Dan @ 5:40 am

What is crowdsourcing? Here is what the Wikipedia says:

Crowdsourcing is the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community, rather than from traditional employees or suppliers. Often used to subdivide tedious work or to fund-raise startup companies and charities, this process can occur both online and offline.

There are two prominent cicada crowdsourcing efforts you can take part in!

First, there is the Cicada Tracker project:

The group Radiolab is hoping you’ll build what they call a cicada tracker. A cicada tracker will measure the temperature of the soil and report that back to Radiolab, to help estimate the arrival of the cicadas. Here is a short video about the project:

The Cicadas Are Coming! from Radiolab on Vimeo.

Throughout April there will be events where you can get to together with other cicada enthusiasts, and build cicada trackers. See their website for more details.

Second, there is Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly Magicicada.org).

Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly Magicicada.org) is a website where you can report and map cicada emergences in your area. I strongly suggest that everyone visits that site to report their cicada sightings. Your reports will be used to build new and better maps of the periodical cicada populations in the U.S.A.

When you visit their site, look for this icon, click it and enter your report:

Report Icon

Information needed for the report include the location (GPS coordinates, or simple street address), and what you observed: was it a nymph or adult, how many were there, etc. I think they’ll even have a Google maps interface to help you locate your sighting.

April 2, 2013

The most interesting 17 year cicada facts

The next major emergences are Brood XIII (17-year) and Brood XIX (13-year) in 2024. The last time these broods co-emerged was 1803.

If you have 18 minutes to spare, watch the video version of this article. Or save 18 minutes and just read it:

These are the 17 most interesting 17-year cicada facts (IMHO). All these facts apply to 13-year cicadas as well. Brood IX will emerge in 2020 in North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. Report 17-year cicada sightings using the Cicada Safari app available for Android and Apple devices.

  1. Names: People call these cicadas “locusts” but they are not true locusts — real locusts look like grasshoppers. The phrase “17 year cicada” indicates that they arrive every 17 years. The name “periodical cicadas” indicates that they arrive periodically and not each and every year. The scientific name for the Genus of these cicadas is Magicicada, and there are 3 types of 17 year Magicicadas: Magicicada septendecim, Magicicada cassini and Magicicada septendecula. This is a true locust:
    Locust
  2. There are 13-year cicadas too: there are 13 year cicadas too! There are four species of 13-year cicadas: Magicicada tredecim, Magicicada neotredecim, Magicicada tredecassini, and Magicicada tredecula. Broods XIX, XXII and XXIII feature these cicadas.

    Here’s a video that will help you identify the various species.

  3. Eye Color: Most 17 Year Cicadas have red eyes, but they can also have white, gray, blue , or multi-colored eyes
    White Eyed Cicada
  4. Fungus: The Massospora fungus infects Magicicadas, filling their abdomens and destroying their ability to reproduce. Often, their entire abdomen will fall off. The cicadas actually spread the fungus throughout their local colony via mating — the Massospora fungus is a cicada STD!
    Fungus
  5. They’ll attack land on you if you’re using a power tool or lawn mower. Cicadas think the sounds made by power tools and lawn maintenance equipment are made by cicadas. They get confused and will land on the people using the equipment! Pro-tip: cut your lawn in the early morning or near dusk when the cicadas are less active.
    Cicadas on Man
  6. Cicadas have five eyes: Cicadas have two, obvious, large, compound eyes, and three ocelli. Ocelli are three jewel-like eyes situated between the two main, compound eyes of a cicada. We believe ocelli are used to detect light and darkness. Ocelli means little eyes in Latin.
    5 eyes.
  7. People eat them: People eat them. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. There, uh, cicada kabobs, cicada creole, cicada gumbo, panfried, deep fried, stir fried. There’s pineapple cicada, lemon cicada, coconut cicada, pepper cicada, cicada soup, cicada stew, cicada salad, cicada and potatoes, cicada burger, cicada sandwich… that’s, that’s about it.
    Cicada Ice Cream
  8. Animals eat them: all wild animals and domestic pets will eat them. Dogs will gorge themselves until they choke. Squirrels will eat them like corn on the cob. Wild turkeys will grow fat and juicy on the cicada feast. Fish go crazy for them too — you can use them as bait, or use lures that mimic them.
  9. Cicadas “eat” tree fluids: Cicadas don’t eat solid foods — instead they use their slender, straw-like mouth parts to drink tree fluids.
  10. Cicadas pee: Yes cicadas pee, so wear a hat when walking under trees if that sort of thing bothers you. Cicadas drink tree fluids and then expel the excess fluid they do now need. People call it “honeydew” or “cicada rain”.
  11. That cicada sound: Only male cicadas make the sound they’re famous for. Males have organs on their abdomen called tymbals. Muscles pop the tymbals in and out, which creates the sound we hear. Males make different calls for different reasons, and each species has a unique sound. Females can make sound too — they flick their wings to respond to males. Read this article for more information.
    tymbals
  12. There are billions of them: there are literally billions of 17 year cicadas. Why? One theory suggests that a large number of cicadas overwhelms predators, so predators are never able to eat them all and cicadas, and many always survive to mate. This is a survival strategy called “predator satiation”.
  13. They damage wimpy trees: the biggest concern about 17-year cicadas is their potential to damage young trees. The truth is they will damage limbs on the wimpiest of trees, so if you have weak, pathetic, wimpy ornamental trees in your yard you should consider placing netting around the trees if the cicadas visit your yard. Also, you can try hosing them off with water, placing insect barrier tape around the trunk of the trees, or picking them off like grapes! Or, plant strong, beefy American trees — that’s what I would do. Cicadas actually benefit the health of trees by aerating the soil around the roots and trimming the weak or damaged limbs.
  14. Stragglers: Periodical cicadas that emerge in years before they are supposed to emerge are called stragglers.
    hipster cicada
  15. 17 and 13 are prime numbers. Scientist speculate that one reason why these cicadas emerge in 17 or 13 year cycles is because those are prime numbers. The fact that 13 & 17 are relatively large* prime numbers makes it difficult for predators to synchronize with them. (*Relative to the average lifespan of an animal.) Annual cicadas (cicadas that arrive every year) often have wasps specialized to prey on them; periodical cicadas have no such wasp because no wasp could evolve to synch with it.
  16. They use their color to warm up: Cicadas need to be warm to sing and fly around, but they’re cold-blooded. Their dark skin absorbs the heat of the sun, which helps to warm them up.
  17. 17 year and 13 year broods co-emerge every 221 years. Cicada Broods usually don’t overlap geographically, and it is very rare when they emerge in the same year. The next time Brood II (the brood emerging in 2013) will co-emerge with another brood will be in 2115 when it co-emerges with Brood XIX. You might need a time machine to see that happen.

Bonus: More information on the morphology of 17 and 13 year cicadas, so you can tell the difference…

Another bonus:

What is the taxonomy of the Magicicada genus?

Kingdom: Animalia (animals)
Phylum: Arthropoda (arthropods)
Subphylum: Hexapoda (hexapods)
Class: Insecta (insects)
Subclass: Pterygota (winged insects)
Infraclass: Neoptera (wing-folding insects)
Order: Hemiptera Linnaeus, 1758 (true bugs)
Suborder: Auchenorrhyncha (hoppers)
Infraorder: Cicadomorpha
Superfamily: Cicadoidea
Family: Cicadidae Latreille, 1802 (cicadas)
Subfamily: Cicadettinae Buckton, 1889
Tribe: Taphurini Distant, 1905
Subtribe: Tryellina Moulds, 2005
Genus: Magicicada Davis, 1925

January 30, 2013

KEEP CALM they’re only 17-YEAR CICADAS

Filed under: Brood II | Magicicada | Memes | Periodical | Pop Culture — Dan @ 5:55 pm

Get it on a shirt! Guys & Gals

Keep Calm, they're only 17-Year Cicadas

Here’s my entry into the popular KEEP CALM meme. “KEEP CALM they’re only 17-YEAR CICADAS”.

January 23, 2013

Brood II Cicada Event at Staten Island Museum

Filed under: Brood II — Dan @ 6:02 am

The emergence of Brood II is 3 to 4 months away (when they emerge depends on how warm the Spring is), but the Staten Island Museum, in Staten Island NY has already planned an event and exhibit to celebrate the emergence. According to cicada researcher Allen Sanborn, the museum largest cicada collection in North America (they have over 35,000 specimens), so it’s a good place to celebrate cicadas.

They’re Baaack! Return of the 17-year Cicadas

February 16, 2013 – Spring 2014

See numerous cicada specimens from the Museum’s extensive collection, sculpture inspired by the Cicada, new work by syndicated cartoonist Tayor Jones, a timeline of past emergences linked to historic events, a time-lapse video of emerging cicadas, a hands on video microscope, a Google map showing where cicadas are emerging, big-bug sci-fi fun, unusual Cicada ephemera and facts from around the globe, activities for kids and more.

On February 15th they’re having OPENING RECEPTION PREVIEW PARTY from 6:00pm – 9:00pm, including dinner, drinks and disco.

On February 16th they’re having a Cicada Family Day from 10:00am – 4:00pm.

And then cicada exhibits throughout the Spring.

See their Upcoming Exhibitions and Current Exhibitions page for more information (which page depends on when you read this.)

Staten Island Museum

The Staten Island Museum is located at Staten Island Museum, 75 Stuyvesant Place, SI, NY 10301, or on the web at www.statenislandmuseum.org.

November 10, 2012

Getting Ready for the 2013 Brood II Emergence

Filed under: Brood II | Magicicada | Periodical — Dan @ 12:01 am

Brood II will next emerge in 2030.

This page has not been updated since 2013.

Cicada Mania was started back in 1996, the last time Brood II emerged! The Spring of 2013 will be our first chance to see the children of the cicadas that emerged 17 years ago. Here is the basic information you need to know about the 2013 Brood II emergence.

Even though the emergence is 5 to 6 months away, it is never too early to begin planning… especially if you are a cicada maniac like me.

Magicicada septendecimThere will be plenty of cicadas on hand.

When will the Brood II cicadas emerge?

Brood II cicadas will emerge sometime in the Spring of 2013. They typically emerge once the soil 8 inches (20cm) below the surface gets to 64 degrees Fahrenheit (18º C). If we have a hot Spring, as we did in 2012, the cicadas could emerge in mid-to-late April. If we have a moderate Spring, the cicadas will wait until May.

Where will they emerge?

Brood II will emerge in parts of Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Magicicadas won’t emerge everywhere in the states mentioned above. They might not exist in your town or neighborhood (particularly if trees were removed from your neighborhood).

More information about where the cicadas will emerge.

What is a Magicicada cicada?

Magicicada is a genus of periodical cicadas known for emerging in massive numbers in 17 or 13 year cycles/periods. The cicadas emerging in 2013 have 17 year life-cycles. Magicicada are also organized into broods. There are 12 broods of 17 year cicadas, and the brood emerging in 2013 is Brood II (Brood Two).

There are 3 species of 17-year Magicicada: M. septendecim (aka “decims”), M. cassini, and M. septendecula. The adults of all three species have black bodies with orange markings, and almost all have red-orange eyes (some have white or multi-colored eyes.

Here is some video and audio of 17-year Magicicada. This will give you an idea of what to expect:

Cicada Mania, best of 2007, part 1 by Dan from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

More information:


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

Marlatt 1907 02 Brood II

May 8, 2012

Look out for Brood II, Brood V and Brood XIX Stragglers

Filed under: Brood I | Brood II | Brood V | Brood XIX | Magicicada | Periodical | Periodical Stragglers — Dan @ 6:31 pm

When is a 2012 Magicicada not a Brood I cicada? When it’s a straggler.

A straggler is a periodical cicada that emerges in a year before or after the year they are supposed to emerge. Typically a straggler will emerge one or four years before, or one year after the year they should have emerged. Stragglers from Broods II (due 2013), Brood V (due 2016) and Brood XIX (backin 2011) are or will emerge this year in limited numbers.

Brood II is set to emerge next year in most of central Virginia (as well as CT, MD, NC, NJ, NY, PA), Brood V will emerge in four years in Virginia and West Virginia (as well as OH, PA), and Brood XIX emerged last year in a few areas of Virginia (as well as AL, AR, GA, IL, IN, KY, MO, MS, NC, OK, SC, TN).

Stragglers present a challenge for people tracking the Brood I emergence because Brood II, Brood V and Brood XIX stragglers will emerge in the same states as Brood I cicadas. Brood II and Brood V overlap Brood I in some places.

Here is a comparison of the I,II & V Broods. The black dots represent where the cicadas have emerged historically.

2012 periodical cicada stragglers

Here’s a map of Brood XIX in case you are curious:
Marlatt 1907 19 Brood XIX

Visit Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly Magicicada.org) for more information on this phenomena, and report your cicada sightings while you’re there. Credit goes to the Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly Magicicada.org)’s Facebook post that reminded me of the stragglers.

May 31, 2009

Magicicada photos from Sandy Aiello

Filed under: Brood II | Magicicada | Pop Culture — Dan @ 8:29 am

Sandy Aiello was kind enough to let us post some of her Magicicada photos on Cicadamania:

Magicicada photos from Sandy Aiello

Magicicada photo from Sandy Aiello

May 26, 2009

Magicicada septendecim photos

Filed under: Brood II | Magicicada | Periodical Stragglers — Tags: — Dan @ 4:15 am

On Monday (Memorial Day) I was lucky enough to find a lone Magicicada septendecim brood II straggler in Metuchen, NJ. This is a male, and he was about 1.5 inches or 3.8 centimeters long.

Molted Male Magicicada septendecim

Male Magicicada septendecim

Male Magicicada septendecim

Male Magicicada septendecim

Male Magicicada septendecim

Male Magicicada septendecim

Look for orange coloring between the wing and eye to identify Magicicada septendecim:
Magicicada septendecim

Cicadas have 3 tiny eyes called ocelli:
ocelli

Thanks to Elias for noticing the coloration behind the eye that IDs this as a decim.

May 23, 2009

Brood II Emerging in New Jersey and New York

Filed under: Brood II | Brood XIV | Magicicada — Dan @ 8:56 am

According to messages left on this site, as well as the magicicada.org map, Brood II cicadas have emerged in New Jersey and New York. I’m in New Jersey, and I plan on looking for cicadas this weekend.

So far:

Brood II stragglers are emerging (4 years ahead of schedule) in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey and New York.

Brood XIV stragglers are emerging (1 year after they’re supposed to) in Ohio.

Update:

I found some skins in Metuchen, NJ tonight. Apologies for the quality of the photo — I only had my cell phone with me (cell phones were not good in 2008).

Brood II stragglers

May 20, 2009

Brood XIV stragglers confirmed as well as Brood II

Filed under: Brood II | Brood XIV | Magicicada | Periodical Stragglers | Roy Troutman — Tags: — Dan @ 9:08 pm

So, we already know that Brood II stragglers are emerging in places like North Carolina and Virginia. Brood II cicadas weren’t due until 2013, which means the Brood II cicadas emerging now are emerging 4 years ahead of schedule.

At the same time, Brood XIV stragglers are emerging in Ohio (Batavia, Ohio to be exact). Brood XIV emerged in full-force last year, which means some Brood XIV cicadas emerging now are emerging 1 year behind schedule.

If you compare the Brood II map and Brood XIV map you’ll see they don’t overlap. Hint: open each map in a different browser or browser tab and toggle between the two.

Here’s some pictures of the Brood XIV stragglers Roy Troutman found just tonight in Batavia, Ohio.

Brood XIV Straggler by Roy Troutman

Brood XIV Straggler by Roy Troutman

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