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February 29, 2020

Cicada eggs and first instar nymph photos by Roy Troutman

Filed under: Eggs | Nymphs | Roy Troutman — Dan @ 3:11 pm

Cicada eggs and first instar nymph photos by Roy Troutman:

Cicada Eggs:
Cicada Eggs

First instar cicada nymphs:
First instar cicada nymphs

Magicicada skins blanket the ground around the roots of a tree

Filed under: Brood I | Exuvia | John Cooley | Magicicada | Periodical — Dan @ 12:25 pm

Magicicada skins (exuvia) blanket the ground around the roots of a tree. This is a photo of periodical cicada skins taken by John Cooley of Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly Magicicada.org) in Warriors’ Path State Park, TN, in 2012. Brood I.

2012 Tennessee photo by John Cooley

Photos from our 2004 Blue-eyed Magicicada Contest

Filed under: Brood X | Eye Color | Magicicada | Photos & Illustrations — Dan @ 9:47 am

Photos from our 2004 Brood X Blue-eyed Magicicada Contest.

Contestants won a Cicada Mania button.

Brood X Button

Blue-eyed Magicicada photo by Cody:
Blue-eyed Magicicada photo by Cody

Blue-eyed Magicicada photo by Luke:
Blue-eyed Magicicada photo by Luke

Blue-eyed Magicicada photo by Mike:
Blue-eyed Magicicada photo by Mike:

Blue-eyed Magicicada photo by Wade:
Blue-eyed Magicicada photo by Wade:

Cicada Nymph Exuvia by Andrea from 2005

Filed under: Exuvia | Neotibicen | Photos & Illustrations — Dan @ 9:24 am

Cicada Nymph Exoskeleton (skin, “shell”, exuvia) by Andrea from 2005.

I believe this is from a Neotibicen (United States).

Cicada Nymph Exoskeleton (skin, "shell", exuvia) by Andrea from 2005.

Cicada Nymph Exoskeleton (skin, "shell", exuvia) by Andrea from 2005.

Cicada Nymph Exoskeleton (skin, "shell", exuvia) by Andrea from 2005.

Molting cicada photos from Japan by John McDonald

Filed under: Japan | Molting | Photos & Illustrations | Teneral — Dan @ 8:25 am

Molting cicada photos from Japan by John McDonald. Taken in 2004.

Molting cicada photos from Japan by John McDonald. Taken in 2004.

Molting cicada photos from Japan by John McDonald. Taken in 2004.

Molting cicada photos from Japan by John McDonald. Taken in 2004.

Molting cicada photos from Japan by John McDonald. Taken in 2004.

Molting cicada photos from Japan by John McDonald. Taken in 2004.

Molting cicada photos from Japan by John McDonald. Taken in 2004.

Molting cicada photos from Japan by John McDonald. Taken in 2004.

Molting cicada photos from Japan by John McDonald. Taken in 2004.

February 28, 2020

Photos of Magicicada cicadas with white & blue eyes by Roy Troutman

Filed under: Brood X | Eye Color | Magicicada | Periodical | Photos & Illustrations | Roy Troutman — Dan @ 4:22 pm

Photos of Magicicada cicadas with white & blue eyes by Roy Troutman from 2004.

Photo of a Magicicada cicada with blue eyes by Roy Troutman.
Photo of a Magicicada cicada with blue eyes by Roy Troutman.

Photo of a Magicicada cicada with blue eyes by Roy Troutman.
Photo of a Magicicada cicada with blue eyes by Roy Troutman.

Photo of a Magicicada cicada with white eyes by Roy Troutman.
Photo of a Magicicada cicada with white eyes by Roy Troutman.

Photo of a Magicicada cicada with white eyes by Roy Troutman.
Photo of a Magicicada cicada with white eyes by Roy Troutman.

August 7, 2019

Check for first instar periodical cicada nymphs

Filed under: Eggs | Magicicada | Nymphs | Ovipositing | Periodical — Dan @ 4:26 am

It’s been about six weeks since the emergence of Brood VIII in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Oklahoma. Now (first week of August) is a good a time as any to check for periodical cicada nymphs that have hatched from eggs laid in branches. Once they hatch they’ll find their way to the ground, where they’ll find and begin feeding on roots for the next 17 years.

Look on branches where cicada laid their eggs.

An illustration of egg nests (Marlatt 1907 Egg Nest Detail):
Marlatt 1907 Egg Nest Detail

A nymph on a branch with adult male finger for comparison:
Periodical Cicada Nymph

Close up:
Periodical Cicada Nymph

Another close up:
Periodical Cicada Nymph

May 19, 2016

The anatomy of a freshly molted cicada

Filed under: Anatomy | Magicicada | Video — Dan @ 6:19 pm

This video points some of the anatomical features of a freshly molted Magicicada, like it’s tarsal claws, rostrum, clypeus, stylets, and spiracles.

The video was made with Camtasia and Pixelmator — nothing fancy; just a quick video for people experiencing molting cicadas for the first time.

September 3, 2015

Big and Small: *tibicen exuvia

Filed under: Exuvia | Megatibicen | Neotibicen — Dan @ 5:34 am

Big and Small

A photo of a Megatibicen auletes compared to a smaller Neotibicen exuvia (I believe it is an N. canicularis based on the time of year and location (mid-New Jersey)).

July 12, 2015

30 Things Cicadas Do

Filed under: Eggs | FAQs | Life Cycle — Dan @ 11:59 am

One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is: “what do cicadas do“? This question is similar to the question “what is the purpose of cicadas” — the answers to both questions help people understand why these fascinating, unusual creatures exist at all.

The simplest reduction of their life cycle is:
1) They hatch from an egg.
2) They burrow underground where they will drink from plant roots for most of their lives.
3) They leave the underground and become adults.
4) The males make sounds that attract females.
5) Males & females court & mate.
6) Females lay fertilized eggs in the branches of plants, and the cycle continues.
7) They die.

The specifics of a cicada’s life cycle varies from species to species, but here is a more detailed view of what cicadas do:

From egg to 1st instar nymph:
1) Cicada nymphs hatch from eggs.

Marlatt 1907 Egg Nest Detail

2) Nymphs feed on plant fluids which they access thanks to the egg-nest groove made by their mothers.

3) They leave the groove, and drift to the ground. Their descent to the ground doesn’t hurt them because they weigh so little.

4) Once on the ground, they dig into the soil until they find small rootlets, from which they will feed.

Once Underground:
5) Underground, they will tunnel/dig

6) and establish a cell

7) from where they’ll comfortably feed. Cicadas feed on the xylem sap of plants. With the help of bacteria they transform the water, minerals and amino acids found in tree fluids to the tissues of their own bodies.

8) They pee, in fact they seem to use excess plant fluid to moisten soil to help mold the walls of their cells.

9) Throughout their life underground they will move from root to root… as plant root systems change with the seasons, when roots die off, or perhaps to avoid predators.

10) Underground, a cicada may (depending on the species) go through four instars, molting three times (see an image of the four instars).

Preparing to emerge:
11) Cicadas will build a tunnel to the surface of the ground, in preparation for their emergence.

12) Cicadas often take that a step further an build a chimney/turret above ground. This often happens in shady areas or when the ground is muddy.

Once above ground:

13) They emerge from their tunnels

14) Cicadas run as fast as they can…

15) And find a surface perpendicular to the ground, hold tight, and begin to molt…

16) During the molting process (ecdysis), cicadas perform many acrobatic moves to separate themselves from their nymphal skin, including pulling their old trachea from their bodies.

17) Once outside their nymphal skin, they will inflate their wings

18) … and expand various parts of their bodies, like their heads.

19) They will change color.

20) Once their bodies are hard enough (sclerotization counts as a thing they do)…

21) They will either seek shelter, perhaps by crawling up higher along a tree trunk…

22) or if your are a Magicicada, you might stick around in the hopes that a predator will eat you.

Mating and Reproduction:

23a) If you are a Male cicada, you are going to sing… unless you belong to a species that cannot sing, in which case, you’ll move your wings in a way that will produce a sounds.
There are many types of songs: a) distress calls, b) calls to establish territory, c) calls to attract females, d) including choruses of many cicadas and e) courting calls

23b) Female cicadas, and some male cicadas, move their wings to make sounds, also in an effort to attract and engage a mate.

24) Most cicadas (aside from Magicicada during the early days of their adult lives) will try to avoid being eaten by predators.

25) They’ll fly, of course.

26) Cicadas, like Magicicada, will establish chorusing centers, which are places where the male cicadas sing together and females come to meet them.

27) Male and female cicadas will court

28) and mate

29) the female cicada will lay her eggs in grooves (ovipositing) she etches into a suitable plant stem, and we’re back to step 1.

30) The last thing cicadas do, of course, is die, and return the nutrients found in their bodies to the soil, where they will be broken down and absorbed by the plants they fed upon.

Some things cicada do not do:

Here are some things cicadas do not do:

1) They don’t seek shelter during the fall months (i.e. they don’t try to live inside your house), unlike Ladybugs or Stinkbugs.
2) They don’t sting or otherwise pass venom onto people.
3) They don’t chew plant leaves, like caterpillars or grasshoppers.
4) They don’t dump garbage in the ocean.

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