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September 9, 2018

Brood VIII will emerge in 2019 in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia

Filed under: Brood VIII,Magicicada,Periodical — Dan @ 9:42 am

Brood VIII

Periodical cicada Brood VIII (Eight) will emerge in 2019 in western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, and the tip of the northern panhandle of West Virginia…

Hancock Count West Virginia

  • What:
    • Millions of these: Magicicada septendecim Brood VII 2018 09
    • 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 May and ending in late June. These cicadas will begin to emerge when the soil 8″ beneath the ground reaches 64 degrees Fahrenheit. A nice, warm rain will often trigger an emergence.
  • Where: TheSE COUNTIES:
  • Why: Why do they emerge in massive numbers every 17-years? In a nutshell, the long life cycle has helped them avoid gaining a specific above-ground predator, and the massive numbers allow them to satiate predators in general, allowing enough to survive and preproduce.

(In case you want to know I used this Retro Wave meme-maker for the 80s style images.)

July 31, 2018

New paper: The periodical cicada four-year acceleration hypothesis revisited and the polyphyletic nature of Brood V

A new paper about periodical cicadas! View it: https://peerj.com/articles/5282/

“The periodical cicada four-year acceleration hypothesis revisited and the polyphyletic nature of Brood V, including an updated crowd-source enhanced map (Hemiptera: Cicadidae: Magicicada)”

Authors: John R. Cooley​, Nidia Arguedas, Elias Bonaros, Gerry Bunker, Stephen M. Chiswell, Annette DeGiovine, Marten Edwards, Diane Hassanieh, Diler Haji, John Knox, Gene Kritsky, Carolyn Mills, Dan Mozgai, Roy Troutman, John Zyla, Hiroki Hasegawa, Teiji Sota, Jin Yoshimura, and Chris Simon.

Abstract:

The periodical cicadas of North America (Magicicada spp.) are well-known for their long life cycles of 13 and 17 years and their mass synchronized emergences. Although periodical cicada life cycles are relatively strict, the biogeographic patterns of periodical cicada broods, or year-classes, indicate that they must undergo some degree of life cycle switching. We present a new map of periodical cicada Brood V, which emerged in 2016, and demonstrate that it consists of at least four distinct parts that span an area in the United States stretching from Ohio to Long Island. We discuss mtDNA haplotype variation in this brood in relation to other periodical cicada broods, noting that different parts of this brood appear to have different origins. We use this information to refine a hypothesis for the formation of periodical cicada broods by 1- and 4-year life cycle jumps.

July 4, 2018

Are cicadas safe to eat? 🍲

Filed under: Eating Cicadas,Magicicada,Periodical — Dan @ 1:01 am

Update (July 2018): A company called Meat Maniac sells cicadas in a can. Don’t know which species, but they have a “nutty flavor”.

Also, send me a box of these cicadas from China… um, I mean Chinese City Tells Citizens to Fight Bug Infestation By Eating Them.

Meat Maniac cicadas in a can

Also, read this amazing story about how Brood VII cicadas helped kept the Onondaga Nation alive during a time of famine.

The original article from 2006:

[WARNING:] Cicadas, 17-year cicadas at least, are well-known bioaccumulators of mercury. If consuming mercury is a concern, you should not eat cicadas.

Dogs, cats, squirrels, fish, and people can’t stop eating cicadas. Are they crazy, or “crazy like a fox”? (Foxes will eat them too.)

Pets and other domesticated animals

This is a cartoon of a dog about to eat a cicada

People want to know: “is it safe for my pets to eat cicadas”. The truth is in most cases your pets will be fine if they eat a few cicadas, however, you still need to be cautious and keep a close eye on your pets. Watch them for odd behavior, and don’t let them gorge themselves. Be cautious: the Humane Society has warned: “Cicadas Dangerous to Pets” [the original link is gone].

Pet-related concerns:

  1. Pets can choke on the rigid wings and other hard body parts of the cicadas.
  2. Pets will gorge themselves on cicadas, and possibly become ill and vomit.
  3. Pets who consume cicadas sprayed with copious amounts of pesticide can and will die.
  4. Pets might have an allergic reaction to the cicadas just as people do.

Bottom line: play it safe, and don’t let your pets eat cicadas if you can help it.

People:

Whether they’re curious, hungry, or doing it for the shock value, people are eating cicadas. Asian peoples have eaten cicadas for centuries, and there are records of Native Americans eating cicadas. People joke that they’re Atkins friendly [also no gluten]. I’ve heard they taste like asparagus, popcorn, minty shrimp, and piney shrimp — YUMMY PINE.

A man in Bloomington Indiana had an allergic reaction to cicadas after eating 30. He was also allergic to seafood — both cicadas and shrimps are arthropods so this makes sense.

[Note to self, “Do it, Dan, don’t be a wimp!”]

People related concerns:

  1. Cicadas are well known bioaccumulators of mercury.
  2. You could choke on their hard body parts.
  3. You could have an allergic reaction. If you’re allergic to seafood, don’t think about eating them.
  4. Do you really want to eat something that’s been marinating in lawn fertilizers,
    pesticides and other chemicals for the past 17 years?
  5. If you get the gout, it makes sense to avoid them.

People related links:

  1. National Geographic: National Geographic News :Low-Fat, High Protein Cicadas: New Health Snack
  2. Stephanie Bailey’s Internet insect cookbook has tips on how to prepare insects for human consumption! [note that the link now goes to an article by Stephanie about eating insects in general.]

Bottom line: You’re not a contestant on Fear Factor [a reality TV show in the 00s]. Why eat cicadas when you can choose from many of the fine menu choices at Applebees [a chain restaurant]?

Fish, turkeys, squirrels and everything else

If a creature has a mouth or some other mechanism to digest cicadas, it likely will try to eat them. Cicadas make great fish bait. Squirrels (yes, they’re nuts for cicadas too), birds, possums, raccoons, foxes, other insects, fungi… they all love cicadas.

Bottom line: let nature do the dirty work and clean your yard one bite at a time.

Tom eats a cicada
Tom: Cicada Gormandize.


June 23, 2018

Brood VII, the Onondaga Brood, Will Emerge in New York State in 2018

Filed under: Brood VII,Magicicada,Periodical — Dan @ 1:01 am

Update (June 17th): I just got back from Onondaga county and I can report that the emergence is in full swing. Lots of chorusing and mating. The best locations are around the Onondaga Nation reservation. If you visit, please do not trespass into the reservation — there are plenty of cicadas outside of it. John Cooley of Magicicada.org said there are also reports of cicadas in the Green Lakes State Park.

Here’s a video montage:

And a gallery:

Brood VII Magicicada septendecim 2018 Syracuse.

About Brood VII

Periodical cicadas (Magicicada septendecim, people call them “locusts”) will emerge in the Finger Lakes area of New York state in 2018.

This group of cicadas is called Brood VII (7) and is known as the Onondaga Brood. This brood is shrinking, and will likely be the next periodical cicada brood to go extinct

A pair of Magicicada septendecim:
A pair of mating Magicicada septendecims found in Woodbridge Township NJ

More details:

  • What: Brood VII is the smallest periodical cicada brood in the U.S., and is isolated in the Finger Lakes area of New York State. Only one species of cicada belongs to the brood: Magicicada septendecim (click link for sounds, video). This cicada has a 17-year life cycle. Sadly, Brood VII will likely be the next Brood to go extinct.
  • When: June, but perhaps May if it’s a very warm year. Magicicada cicadas typically emerge in the spring, once the soil underground where they live reaches approximately 64 degrees Faraihneght.
  • Where: the Finger Lakes area of NY State.
    • Where they appeared (last) in 2001: Onondaga and Livingston.
    • The following counties have had these cicadas in the distant past: Cayuga, Livingston, Monroe, Onondaga, Ontario, Seneca, Steuben, Wyoming, York.
  • The Onondaga Nation survived starvation one year by eating these cicadas

Further reading / viewing / listening:

Papers about Brood VII

  • The Historical Contraction of Periodical Cicada Brood Vii (Hemiptera: Cicadidae: Magicicada by John R. Cooley, David C. Marshall and Chris Simon. J. New York Entomol. Soc. 112(2–3):198–204, 2004. Link to PDF download.
  • Decrease in Geographic Range of the Finger Lakes Brood(Brood Vii) of the Periodical Cicada (Hemiptera: Cicadidae: Magicicada Spp.) by Cole Gilbert and Carolyn Klass. J. New York Entomol. Soc. 114(1–2):78–85, 2006.

May 23, 2018

Brood X Stragglers Emerge in Ohio

Filed under: Brood X,Gene Kritsky,Magicicada,Periodical Stragglers — Dan @ 9:59 pm

Gene Kritsky, author of Periodical Cicadas. The Plague and the Puzzle, let us know that many of what are likely Brood X cicada stragglers have emerged around the Mount St. Joseph University campus, in Cincinnati, Ohio. It’s likely that cicadas are emerging elsewhere in the Cincinnati area.

This is significant because Brood X cicadas should not emerge until 2021.

This is a photo of a Magicicada periodical cicada emerging on the MSJ campus, courtesy of Gene:
2018 MSJ nymph

Quick facts:

  • Gene Kritsky is a periodical cicada expert and Dean of the School of Behavioral and Natural Sciences and Professor and of Biology at Mount St. Joseph University. Read more.
  • Brood X is a massive brood of Magicicada (the genus) periodical (the lifecycle type) cicadas that are set to emerge in 2021 in 15 states.
  • A straggler is a periodical cicada that emerges off-schedule, often a few years before or after the rest of its Brood.

May 17, 2018

Periodical cicada season starts, with a straggler

Filed under: Brood XXIII,Magicicada,Periodical,Periodical Stragglers — Dan @ 7:59 pm

Update: in addition, two Brood X stragglers were reported on 5/21 in Bloomington, Indiana (thanks Rhonda and Leah).

Original post:

Cicada researcher John Cooley has received the first cicada sighting of the year — a Brood XXIII straggler in western Tennessee!! 3 years later than expected.

So, what’s a straggler? A straggler is a periodical cicada that emerges sooner or later than it is expected to emerge. In this case, a cicada with a 13-year lifecycle emerged in 16 years — 3 years off.

January 6, 2018

New paper about Brood XXII Magicicadas

There is a new paper out about Brood XXII, titled Evolution and Geographic Extent of a Surprising Northern Disjunct Population of 13-Year Cicada Brood XXII (Hemiptera: Cicadidae, Magicicada). I helped with the field work for this paper, traveling through Ohio and Kentucky with Roy Troutman, recording the locations of periodical cicadas.

Brood XXII, a brood of Magicicada periodical cicadas with a 13-year lifecycle, exists in Louisiana & Mississippi, and Ohio & Kentucky with no geographic connection between them (the two groups are geographically isolated). The paper discusses the similarities and differences between the two groups.

You can read and download the paper for free.

Citation for the paper:
Gene Kritsky, Roy Troutman, Dan Mozgai, Chris Simon, Stephen M Chiswell, Satoshi Kakishima, Teiji Sota, Jin Yoshimura, John R Cooley; Evolution and Geographic Extent of a Surprising Northern Disjunct Population of 13-Year Cicada Brood XXII (Hemiptera: Cicadidae, Magicicada), American Entomologist, Volume 63, Issue 4, 12 December 2017, Pages E15–E20, https://doi.org/10.1093/ae/tmx066

September 30, 2017

Avoid “Locust Loco”

Filed under: Folklore,Magicicada,Periodical — Dan @ 4:39 pm

A nice illustration that shows the difference between Magicicada periodical cicadas & Locust grasshoppers from the April 18, 1919 edition of The Washburn Leader, Washburn, North Dakota.

Once you see them up-close, it’s clear that cicadas are not locusts. Nearly 98 years later, people still call cicadas “locusts” though.

1919

July 9, 2017

My 2017 Brood X and VI Experiences

Filed under: Brood VI,Brood X,Life Cycle,Magicicada — Dan @ 8:28 am

I’ll cut to the chase, in terms of Brood VI, I only experienced the emergence via my web browser. I planned on visiting North Carolina but rain and car troubles stood in my way. I did travel to Wisconsin to try to find legendary populations said to exist there, but I found no cicadas. I drove routes 90, 14, 12, 23 and roads in between, but I had no luck finding them. My investigation was by no means comprehensive, but I covered as much ground as I could in the two days I was there, and found no periodical cicadas.

Brood X stragglers are a different story. I missed seeing the massive Virginia/Maryland area populations, but I was able to see cicadas in Princeton, and the significant emergence in the Dublin area of Ohio.

Princeton, NJ

On May 20th I visited Princeton and found exuvia (shed skins/”shells”) on a pole next to where I parked my car, which was very encouraging. I headed for the Princeton Battle Monument park, a place where I saw massive numbers of cicadas in 2004. There, in 2017, I found exuvia but no adults — from 5 to as many as 200 per tree (I counted what I could see). The park was overflowing with squirrels and birds that would love to eat cicadas — I have no doubt why no stragglers survived. Black birds paced the lawn five abreast, like a small army systematically hunting for insect prey. During a normal emergence periodical cicadas emerge in such great numbers that many are able to get past the armies of hungry birds and rodents (this is called predator satiation). After visiting the park, I walked many side streets and found exuvia everywhere I went — not massive piles like we see during a normal, on-schedule emergence — but at least a few on every tree.

I returned on May 27th, and actually found adult cicadas in Princeton. I found dozens of Magicicada cassini and a few Magicicada septendecim. There were not enough adults to form viable choruses. I doubt few mated. I heard a single Magicicada cassini court song, so all least they were trying.

The most interesting cicada I saw was this Magicicada cassini with a mosaic pigment mutation, which caused the unusual orange marking on its abdomen. At first I thought it was a Magicicada septendecim, but Chris Simon confirmed that it was not.

Magicicada cassini with mosaic pigment mutation in Princeton 2017

I also drove Rt 29 from Trenton to Frenchtown, across Rt 12 to Flemmington, and down Rt 31 and heard no cicada populations. I visited Sourland Mountain. I visited many of the markers on Magicicada.org but found no cicadas, and certainly no viable adult populations (no singing, not enough to perpetuate a population).

North of Dublin, Ohio

On June 10th I made it to the suburbs north of Dublin, Ohio (itself north of Columbus). There I encountered a very active periodical cicada emergence. I mostly found Magicicada cassini, but I could hear Magicicada septendecim from time to time. I have little doubt that many cicadas mated and some of their progeny will survive to appear in another 14 or 17 years.

North of Dublin

Cedar Springs, OH

When I’m mapping cicadas I try to stop at every rest stop and welcome center to look for cicadas. I found periodical cicada exvuia at a rest stop on Rt 70 hear Cedar Springs, Ohio. This was a nice find because I didn’t see any signtings in this area on the Magicicada.org map.

Indianapolis, IN, near Ft. Harrison State park

I passed through Indianapolis, IN twice on my way to and from Wisconsin. I found some exuvia on the outskirts of Ft. Harrison State park, but nothing inside the park (weird).

June 3, 2017

Look & listen for Brood X Stragglers

Filed under: Accelerations,Brood X,Magicicada,Periodical Stragglers — Dan @ 1:01 am

Surprise!

Summer is here now, so it is time for annual species of cicadas. See which types of cicadas are in your area.

If you experienced Brood X stragglers this spring, it’s not to late report the location where you saw them to Magicicada.org. In the Ohio area, send your cicada photos of Mount St. Joseph University.

Other updates can be found in the comments.

What’s the deal with these amazing insects?

This year “precursors” to Brood X are emerging or will emerge in small to large numbers in D.C., Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York (Long Island), North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. Magicicada.org has the most up-to-date map from Brood X.

Note: because of the significant number of cicadas emerging ahead of time, this might be an acceleration event. Periodical cicada accelerations occur when a significant group of an established brood emerge in years ahead of the main brood, and sometimes the accelerated group is able to reproduce and create what is essentially a new brood. Brood VI was likely part of Brood X at one point of time1. We’ll have to see if the Brood X stragglers are able to survive predation, and reproduce in significant numbers to sustain future populations. They are certainly trying.

Some more info to impress your friends with:

These are the species you might hear/see:

  1. Magicicada septendecim
  2. Magicicada cassini
  3. Magicicada septendecula

Don’t panic! Less that one percent of a Brood straggles. If you had 10,000 cicadas in your yard back in 2004, you can expect a less-frightening or more manageable dozens or hundreds (okay, maybe 1,000s). :)

Here's Johnny

Brood VI also emerges this year?

Brood VI also emerged this year in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. These cicadas emerged on schedule, and are not stragglers. It is believed that Brood VI descended from Brood X through acceleration (mentioned above).

Brood VI compared to Brood X:
Brood X vs VI
The data comes from Magicicada.org.

What are stragglers, and why do they straggle

Stragglers are periodical cicadas that emerge in years before or after the brood they belong to is expected to emerge. Typically 17-year periodical cicadas emerge 4 years early (see the probability chart). While stragglers might not produce enough offspring to produce future generations, straggling is something periodical cicadas do — it is hard-wired into their DNA. The 4-year interval is also typical.

Stragglers are not a new phenomenon. William T. Davis documented accelerations of cicada populations back in the 1800s, which was reported by C.L. Marlatt in the 1898 document The Periodical Cicada. An Account Of Cicada Septendecim, Its Natural Enemies And The Means Of Preventing Its Injury.

Mr. W. T. Davis records the occurrence of scattering individuals on Staten Island in both 1890 and 1892, neither of which is a Cicada year. These may have been of accelerated or retarded individuals, but possibly represent either remnants of broods or insignificant broods not hitherto recorded.

In the case of W. T. Davis’s observations, Brood II would have emerged in 1894 in Staten Island, so 1890 would have been a 4-year straggler/processor/acceleration, and 1892 a rare 2-year acceleration.

The term “straggler” throws people off because most people are familiar with the definition of straggler that means “something that falls behind the main group”. These cicadas are clearly ahead of the main group, not falling behind. Straggle can also mean “to wander from the direct course or way” (Merriam-Webster), “to trail off from others of its kind” (Merriam-Webster). In terms of cicadas, scientists and naturalists have been using the term “straggler” for over a century, so it has stuck around. For now, don’t worry about the term, just know that it means periodical cicadas that are not emerging on schedule.

More information on stragglers and accelerations.

Climate and Stragglers

Dr. Gene Kritsky, in this recent article, is quoted as saying “[c]limate changes are behind the premature debut”. Visit Gene’s website.

It makes sense that climate variations would trigger periodical cicadas to emerge ahead of time. Periodical cicadas take cues from the seasonal cycles of their host trees. An unusual climate event, like a hot fall or winter, might cause trees to signal cicadas that additional years have passed, and cause them to shift to emerge early. In the paper, How 17-year cicadas keep track of time, Richard Karban was able to show that you can speed up the time it takes for a periodical cicada to emerge by artificially altering the seasonal cycles of their host trees2. It’s likely that the Brood X stragglers emerging now were set on their path to emerging 4 years early not this year or the last, but many years ago.

Metropolitan areas like Washington D.C., called “HEAT ISLANDS” (read this article), can often be much hotter than surrounding rural areas due to human activity. The effects of living within a heat island may have disrupted the seasonal cycles of the cicadas’ host trees, and therefore the cicadas themselves. Localized climate change will be considered as a contributing factor to their early emergence. If we find considerably fewer stragglers in rural areas than city areas, then we could draw a conclusion that local climates are contributing to straggling.

Other than climate (in the long term), weather (in the short term), and a natural propensity to straggle or accelerate, population density is another reason why cicadas will straggle. If there is a high density of them underground, vying for limited resources, some might emerge a year or so before or after the main Brood.

References:

1 Monte Lloyd &J o Ann White. Sympatry of Periodical Cicada Broods and the Hypothetical Four-Year Acceleration. Evolution, Vol. 30, No. 4. (Dec., 1976), pp. 786-801.

2 Richard Karban, Carrie A. Black and Steven A. Weinbaum. How 17-year cicadas keep track of time. Ecology Letters, (2000) 3: 253-256.

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