Cicada Mania

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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.

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 Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly 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. Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly 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 Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly 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.

May 12, 2016

Cicada Straggler Alert 2016

Filed under: Magicicada | Periodical Stragglers — Dan @ 9:29 pm

Straggler Alert

The point of this article is that you should be on the alert for Magicicada periodical cicadas, no matter what year it is, and if you see or hear them, report them.

Stragglers, in terms of cicadas, are periodical cicadas that emerge in years prior to (precursors) or after their brood is expected to emerge. Most often, 17 year cicada stragglers emerge four years prior to their expected emergence date — but it is possible for periodical cicadas to emerge between 8 years earlier and 4 years later than expected. Read more about cicada stragglers.

This year (2016) Brood IX stragglers should emerge in southern West Virginia, western Virginia and the north-middle part of North Carolina that connects with western Virginia. See a map here.

Looking at the live map on Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly Magicicada.org), it is obvious that most reports come from Brood V and stragglers appear to be emerging in the Brood IX & VI areas as expected — however, there are a fair number of reports in the Brood II and X areas, which is odd.

Map

  • Red: Brood V
  • Orange: Brood IX, 4 years early (most probable)
  • Yellow: Brood VI, 1 year early (probable)
  • Green: Brood II, 3 years late (rare, but possible)
  • Dark Green: Brood X, 5 years early (rare, but possible)

As stated before, it is common for periodical cicadas to emerge 4 years early, but 5 years early is rare. So why Brood X be stragglers this year? That requires a little more thought.

Now we enter the realm of conjecture…

Rick Karban in the paper How 17-year cicadas keep track of time1 demonstrated how you can get cicadas to emerge earlier than expected if you alter the seasonal cycles of their host trees. Make the tree experience two cycles in one year, the cicadas will read this as “two years have passed” and they’ll emerge a year earlier. So, in the case of Brood X stragglers, it could be that their host trees experienced weather fluctuations that caused them to do something that signaled the cicadas that 2 years had passed. Add the 4 years they would likely straggle + 1 year caused by fluctuations from the host tree, and that makes for a 5 year straggler.

The other day wethertrends360 posted this on their facebook page:

Growing Degree Days tell us why the Northeast had such an early surge in plant growth but then slowed. From late February to early April temperatures were near record warm in the Northeast with the 2nd most Growing Degree Days (GDD) in 25 years (chart/map left). This allowed plants to emerge way too early and then the freezes came!

Perhaps this early surge in plant growth, then a freeze, then growth again seemed like two years had passed to some cicadas. Perhaps.

1 How 17-year cicadas keep track of time, Richard Karban, Carrie A. Black1 and Steven A. Weinbaum, Ecology Letters (2000) 3 : 253-256.

June 27, 2015

What are stragglers?

Filed under: Accelerations | FAQs | Periodical | Periodical Stragglers — Dan @ 1:02 pm

Periodical cicadas often emerge in years before or after they are expected to emerge. When periodical cicadas don’t emerge on schedule we call them stragglers, regardless of whether they show up early or late. Typically cicadas with a 17-year lifecycle will emerge 4 years early, and cicadas with a 13-year cycle will emerge 4 years late.

Probability of Straggling chart from Chris Simon
This image indicates the probability of Magicicada straggler emergences. Courtesy of cicada researcher Chris Simon.

People hear the word straggler and assume it means something that lags behind, but that is a laggard. A straggler can mean something that has deviated from an expected date/time or moved away from others of its kind. That said, periodical cicadas that emerge early can also be called precursors, but in the scientific literature, they are called stragglers.

Visit Brood Chart to see when stragglers will be most likely.

Extremely likely stragglers in the next few years:

2020: Brood XIII 4 years early.
2021: Brood XIV 4 years early.
2025: Brood I 4 years early.

Likely stragglers in the next few years:

2020: Brood X 1 year early.
2021: Brood IX 1 year late.
2022: Brood X 1 year late.
2023: Brood XIII 1 year early.
2024: Brood XIV 1 year early.

Accelerations

An acceleration occurs when periodical cicadas straggle in numbers significant enough to sustain future generations. In other words, a large population of a 17-year brood emerge in just 13 years, they avoid being eaten by predators, they mate and reproduce, and then 17 years later their offspring emerge in large enough numbers to reproduce and sustain their population. This is one reason why two different broods might exist in the same area. 1

It is thought that Brood X was formed when a group of Brood XIV accelerated 4 years (they emerged in 13 years, rather than 17). Then Brood VI came from Brood X, and Brood II came from Brood VI. Brood XIV -> X -> VI -> II is called the “main sequence”1.

Accelerations may have been more prevalent and successful (successful in terms of sustaining future generations) in the past when much of eastern North America was forests, and there was no human intervention or destruction of habitat to interfere.

References

1 Monte Lloyd & Jo Ann White. Sympatry of Periodical Cicada Broods and the Hypothetical Four-Year Acceleration. Evolution, Vol. 30, No. 4. (Dec., 1976), p. 795.

Here’s a paper that discusses 13-year Magicicada emerging 4 years early: David C. Marshall, Kathy B. R. Hill, and John R. Cooley “Multimodal Life-Cycle Variation in 13- and 17-Year Periodical Cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadidae: Magicicada),” Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 90(3), 211-226, (1 July 2017). https://doi.org/10.2317/0022-8567-90.3.211

June 11, 2015

Look and listen for Magicicada stragglers in 2015

Filed under: Brood V | Brood VIII | Magicicada | Matt Berger | Periodical | Periodical Stragglers — Dan @ 1:01 am

Another straggler sighting, this time in Cleveland which should make it a Brood V one year straggler:

Matt Berger Brood V Stragger 2
A Brood V straggler found by Matt Berger in West Virginia. See more photos of this cicada.

The emergence of Brood XXIII is well underway in the states along the Mississippi, and Brood IV should kick off in the west as soon as it stops raining every day. These aren’t the only Magicicada periodical cicadas emerging in the U.S. this year — some stragglers will emerge as well.

A straggler is a periodical cicada that emerges before or after the rest of its brood. Typically a straggler belonging to a 17 year brood will emerge 4 years early, but they might also emerge a year early, or a year late, or even 4 years late. This probability chart, details the probability of a straggler emergence.

In 2015 you might find the following stragglers:

Tyla MacAllister found a Brood XIX Magicicada straggler (emerged 4 years late) in Alabama!

March 9, 2015

2015 Periodical Cicada Emergences

Filed under: Brood IV | Brood XXIII | Magicicada | Periodical Stragglers — Dan @ 1:06 am

There will be two major periodical cicada emergences in 2015. We’re less that 2 months away!

2015 BROOD IV AND XXIII

Brood XXIII, the Lower Mississippi Valley brood:

This brood of 13 year Magicicada will emerge in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Kentucky, Illinois, and Indiana. Brood XXIII features all four 13 year Magicicada species M. tredecim, M. neotredecim, M. tredecassini and M. tredecula.

When they’ll emerge depends on the weather. A cool spring will mean the emergences will start later in the spring. Regardless of the weather, the emergences will begin in the Southern-most states, sometime in late April or early to mid May.

Brood XXIII should, depending on the weather, start emerging in less than two months; some time in late April in Louisiana.

Brood IV, the Kansan Brood:

This brood of 17 year Magicicada will emerge in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa. Brood VI features all three 17 year Magicicada species M. septendecim, M. cassini, and M. septendecula.

Brood IV should start emerging in early May.

Brood IV and XXIII won’t emerge in the same year again until the year 2236. The only state that features both Brood XXIII & IV is Missouri, but the areas where they emerge do not overlap.

Stragglers:

The best bet for Stragglers will be Brood VIII (17 year cicadas emerging 4 years early) & XIX (13 year cicadas emerging 4 years late). There is also a chance for III (17yr/1 year late), V (17yr/1 year early), and XXII (13yr/1 year late). Visit our brood page, to see the states where these stragglers might emerge.


June 5, 2014

Lookout for Stragglers in 2014

Filed under: Magicicada | Periodical | Periodical Stragglers — Dan @ 8:32 am

If you follow Cicada Mania, you’ve probably heard about the regularly scheduled emergences in Louisiana and Mississippi (Brood XXII); in Iowa, Missouri and Illinois (Brood III); and the (micro) brood in Ohio and Kentucky, BUT, there could be other Magicicada emerging around the USA.

Magicicada cicadas often straggle from the times they are expected to emerge. This can happen due to overcrowding (too many cicadas underground can delay the development and emergence of some). It could also be a natural thing they do — maybe some accelerate from a 17 year to 13 year life cycle, or back, to form new populations or as a strategy for survival. Most of the time they straggle in 1 year or 4 year intervals. Here is were I would expect to see stragglers.

  • Brood II 1-year (late) stragglers in CT, GA, MD, NC, NJ, NY, OK, PA, VA
  • Brood IV 1-year (early) stragglers in IA, KS, MO, NE, OK, TX
  • Brood XXIII 1-year (early) stragglers in AR, IL, IN, KY, LA, MO, MS, TN
  • Brood VII 4-year (early) stragglers in NY


Check our broods page
for more precise locations and information.

This chart, courtesy of Chris Simon, details the probability for straggling:

Probability of Straggling chart from Chris Simon

If you see any stragglers, report them to Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly Magicicada.org), so they can be mapped and studied. It looks like some Brood IV stragglers are showing up in the Kansas City area!

Kansas City

Of course, we’re only talking about the black & orange & red-eyed Magicicada here…
Magicicada septendecim

…not other species like Tibicen or Okanagana.

October 11, 2013

Looking forward to the 2014 periodical cicada emergences

Filed under: Brood III | Brood VII | Brood XXII | Periodical Stragglers — Dan @ 11:25 pm

Magicicada I am excited about the 17 and 13 year cicada emergences expected in 2014.

Here is what we can look forward to:

  • Brood XXII, the Baton Rouge brood. This brood of 13 year Magicicada will emerge in Louisiana and Mississippi. When they emerge depends on the weather, but probably April to May.
  • Brood III, The Iowan Brood. This brood of 17 year Magicicada will emerge in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri. This emergence will likely peak in June, depending on the weather.
  • A 13 Year cicada emergence in Ohio and Kentucky. This group of 13 Year Magicicada hasn’t officially been associated with a brood. May-June is my guess.
  • Stragglers from Broods II, IV, XXIII, and VII might emerge next year (see our brood chart for locations). The best bet will be Brood VII stragglers. Brood VII is located in upstate NY (June).

I’m looking forward to taking some vacation time and tracking cicadas. Brood XXII is a good excuse to visit New Orleans (even if it isn’t on the cicada map).

Fun fact: Brood III and XXII won’t emerge in the same year again until the year 2235.

June 8, 2013

More crowd sourcing opportunities for cicada community scientists

I created a category for community scientist crowd sourcing projects. These are projects for you, the people, who want to help cicada researchers & scientists study cicadas.

Here are more ways you can help cicada researchers study cicadas:

Project 1:

Chris Simon and the Simon Cicada Lab need your help with a couple of projects:

We at the Simon Lab are anxious to get the word out that we are very interested in finding upcoming Brood II locations with lots of flagging (broken branches and wilted stems that should turn brown in late June or July or sooner down south).

When cicadas lay eggs they cause some damage to tree branches called flagging. It is easy to spot the brown patches of leaves. The Simon Lab want your sightings of flagging come the end of June and July.

A form to submit your sightings will be available soon.

flagging

Project 2:

Also we need to continue to crowd source locations of spring stragglers from any brood in any year.

A straggler is a periodical cicada that emerges years in advance of the rest of its brood. Typically they emerge four years in advance. An example of this is the cicadas that emerged in Ohio this year. Please let us know if you see a periodical cicada outside the Brood II area.

You can probably use this form for that.

Next year (2014), folks in western New York state might see some stragglers from Brood VII (due 2018) for example.

This chart will give you an idea of when stragglers can be expected. The best bet is -4 years for 17 year broods, and +4 for 13 year broods.

Probability of Straggling chart from Chris Simon

I’ve added straggler probabilities to this brood chart.

Note to self: read Periodical Cicada (Homoptera: Cicadidae) Life-Cycle Variations, the Historical Emergence Record, and the Geographic Stability of Brood Distributions by David Marshall.

Future projects:

There will be at least one more major crowd sourcing project coming soon. Stay tuned!

May 22, 2013

Finneytown Ohio 17 year Cicada Acceleration

Filed under: Brood VI | Gene Kritsky | Periodical Stragglers | Roy Troutman — Dan @ 11:10 pm

Roy Troutman, Gene Kritsky and his wife Jess witnessed a Magicicada emergence in Finneytown Ohio tonight. It is believed that this could be an acceleration of a new Brood VI, or an eight year acceleration of Brood X.

From Roy:

We had an unexpected emergence in parts of the Cincinnati area last night & I got some pics with my new Canon t4i. Gene [Kritsky] & his wife Jess came out to witness it as well. I would say hundreds emerged in a very small suburb of Cincinnati called Finneytown. This could be 4 year acceleration of the new brood VI that Gene has been talking about verifying in 2017 or 8 year acceleration of Brood X.

Photos of these cicadas by Roy:

Finneytown OH Acceleration Magicicada Exuvia by Roy Troutman

Finneytown OH Acceleration Teneral Magicicada by Roy Troutman 2

Finneytown OH Acceleration Magicicada Nymph by Roy Troutman

Finneytown OH Acceleration Magicicada Exuvia by Roy Troutman 2

Finneytown OH Acceleration Magicicada Exuvia by Roy Troutman 3

Finneytown OH Acceleration Teneral Magicicada by Roy Troutman

Finneytown OH Acceleration Teneral Male Magicicada by Roy Troutman

Finneytown OH Acceleration Teneral Magicicada by Roy Troutman 3

Finneytown OH Acceleration Magicicada Nymph by Roy Troutman 2_jpg

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