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May 9, 2024

Can periodical cicadas cause hearing damage?

Filed under: Magicicada | Periodical | Sounds — Dan @ 7:54 pm

People ask, “Can periodical cicada singing damage hearing”? It all depends on how long you expose yourself to their song, and how close your ears are to the insect. Invest in some quality ear plugs if you are concerned. Consult a medical professional, of course. Get a Sound Level Meter.

Periodical cicada choruses are often in the 80–85db range, which the CDC says “You may feel very annoyed” and “Damage to hearing possible after 2 hours of exposure”:

80-85

If you spend a long time outside during a chorus, your ears will probably ring for hours after. That is my personal experience.

Placed directly on a microphone, I have observed periodical cicadas get as loud as 111.4db. According to the CDC, that is close enough to cause hearing damage in less than 2 minutes. Do not place male cicadas on your ear! Do not put your head right next to the tree branches where they’re singing.

111.4db

111.4db

Check out this video of Magicicada sound levels measured by an EXTECH 407730 Sound Level Meter:

How to avoid hearing them?

  1. Stay indoors
  2. Buy earplugs or headphones that block external sound
  3. Avoid their peak singing times, between 10 am and 5 pm. Before 10 am and after 5 pm are also the best times to do yard work to avoid them.

I’ve exposed myself to hundreds of hours of cicada songs. I’ve also gone to hundreds of concerts and listened to a lot of rowdy music over the years. My hearing is not great, but it is probably not due to cicadas.

It is worth mentioning that only male cicadas sing. Females make noise by flicking their wings, but they are not as loud as the males. Males have organs called tymbals that vibrate creating their signature sound.

Here are illustrations and a photo of a Magicicada’s tymbals. They have one on each side of their body:
tymbals

So what is the loudest cicada? According to the University of Florida Insect Book of World Records, “The African cicada, Brevisana brevis (Homoptera: Cicadidae) produces a calling song with a mean sound pressure level of 106.7 decibels at a distance of 50cm.” The loudest cicada in the United States, using the same methodology, is Diceroprocta apache (Davis) at 106.2db at 50cm.

I need to take measurements of Magicicada from 50cm to make a comparison. The measurements I’ve taken are in the midst of a large chorus with cicadas about a meter to 20 meters away, which falls in the 80-85db range; or directly on the mic, which gets into the 109-111db range. Your results may vary.

April 29, 2024

Periodical Cicada Timeline for 2024

Filed under: Magicicada | Periodical — Dan @ 7:43 pm

I updated the Excel file for keeping track of a Magicicada periodical emergence, which you can download.

This is what it looks like:

Periodical cicada emergence chart.

It covers the major phases of an emergence:
Animals (including pets) digging for them
Holes & Chimneys appear in your lawn
Nymphs Emerge & Molt
Singing
Chorusing & Wing Flicking
Mating
Egg Laying
Die-off
Flagging of tree foliage
Eggs Hatch

How to tell if a Magicicada periodical cicada nymph is ready to molt

Filed under: Magicicada | Nymphs | Periodical — Dan @ 7:12 pm

How can you tell if a Magicicada periodical cicada nymph is ready to molt?

Answer: look for two black spots on its back (technically the cephalothorax). They look like they are wearing aviator sunglasses pushed up on their forehead!

A diagram that shows when a nymph is ready to molt.

I do not know the official name for these spots, but they seem to be related to the pigment that turns the cicadas black after they molt. They may scare away predators that think the spots are big eyes!

Here are a few ideas for a name for them:
obscuras maculas
mutatione macularum

April 20, 2024

A quick way to tell the difference between the 7 periodical cicadas species

Filed under: Brood XIII | Brood XIX | Magicicada | Periodical — Dan @ 8:50 am

Here is a quick way to tell the difference between the 7 periodical cicada species:

Download this chart. Click/tap for a larger version:

The songs of Magicicada cassini (17-year) and Magicicada tredecassini (13-year) are essentially identical:

M. cassini:

M. tredecassini:

The songs of Magicicada septendecula (17-year) and Magicicada tredecula (13-year) are essentially identical:

M. septendecula (©Joe Green):

M. tredecula:

The songs of Magicicada septendecim (17-year), M. neotredecim (13-year), and Magicicada tredecim (13-year) are essentially identical. M. neotredecim varies the sound of its call in the presence of M. tredecim.

M. septendecim:

M. neotredecim (© Insect Singers)

M. tredecim (© Insect Singers)

And/or watch this video:

Then read this and listen to the sound files on the page: Where will 17 & 13 Year Periodical Cicada Broods emerge next?

February 1, 2024

New Brood XIX and XIII Cicada Book by Dr. Gene Kritsky

Filed under: Books | Brood XIII | Brood XIX | Magicicada | Periodical — Dan @ 8:14 am

Cicada researcher and communicator Dr. Gene Kritsky has a new book about Brood XIX and XIII which are both emerging in the spring of 2024: A Tale of Two Broods: The 2024 Emergence of Periodical Cicada Broods XIII and XIX. It is available in paperback and Kindle formats.

A Tale of Two Broods: The 2024 Emergence of Periodical Cicada Broods XIII and XIX

Other posts about Dr. Gene Kritsky on this site:

  1. An Interview with Gene Kritsky
  2. Gene Kritsky’s new cicada site and Brood XIV news
  3. Periodical Cicadas: The Brood X Edition by Gene Kritsky
  4. Gene’s App: Cicada Safari app for tracking Magicicada periodical cicadas

November 8, 2023

Cicadapocalypse a graphic novel about periodical cicadas by Roger McMullan

Filed under: Books | Magicicada | Periodical — Dan @ 11:32 pm

Roger McMullan has a new graphic novel about periodical cicadas called Cicadapocalypse. You can obtain a copy from Roger’s online store.

As I understand it, “the book is intended as an introduction to periodical cicadas for curious kids during a cicada emergence by creating a fictional narrative around the cicadas rather than hitting them over the head with facts”. A cicada emergence through the eyes of some shocked and surprised cartoon squirrels.

It looks fun to me.

cicadapocalypse

October 17, 2023

Roy Troutman’s 2013 Brood II cicada photos, gallery 3

When Roy Troutman visited New Jersey and New York in 2013 for Brood II he took a lot of great cicada photos.

Here is a sample of the best.
Click the images for a larger version.
Also visit Gallery #1 and Gallery #2.

Magicicada molting by Roy Troutman
Magicicada molting by Roy Troutman

Magicicada with exuvia by Roy Troutman
Magicicada with exuvia by Roy Troutman

Mustard eyed Magicicada septendecim by Roy Troutman
Mustard eyed Magicicada septendecim by Roy Troutman

Roy Troutman and Elias Bonaros at the Periodical Cicada display at the American Museum of Natural History, photo by Michelle Troutman
Roy Troutman, John Cooley, Ed Johnson and Dan Mozgai

Roy Troutman, John Cooley, Ed Johnson and Dan Mozgai
Roy Troutman and Elias Bonaros at the Periodical Cicada display at the American Museum of Natural History by Michelle Troutman

Teneral Magicada by Roy Troutman
Teneral Magicada by Roy Troutman

Roy Troutman’s 2013 Brood II cicada photos, gallery 2

When Roy Troutman visited New Jersey and New York in 2013 for Brood II he took a lot of great cicada photos.
Here is a sample of the best.
Click the images for a larger version.
Visit Gallery #1 and Gallery #3 as well.

John Cooley and Ed Johnson speaking at the Staten Island Museum Six Legged Sex event by Roy Troutman
John Cooley and Ed Johnson speaking at the Staten Island Museum Six Legged Sex event by Roy Troutman

Light Up Cicada Sculpture at the Staten Island Museum by Roy Troutman
Light Up Cicada Sculpture at the Staten Island Museum by Roy Troutman

Magicicada septendecim by Roy Troutman
M. septendecim by Roy Troutman

Magicicada cassini flying inbetween calling in Colonia NJ by Roy Troutman
Magicicada cassini flying inbetween calling in Colonia NJ by Roy Troutman

Magicicada cassini in flight in Colonia NJ by Roy Troutman
Magicicada cassini in flight in Colonia NJ by Roy Troutman

Magicicada corpses and exuvia by Roy Troutman
Magicicada corpses and exuvia by Roy Troutman

Magicicada mating by Roy Troutman
Magicicada mating by Roy Troutman

Magicicada exuvia by Roy Troutman
Magicicada exuvia by Roy Troutman

Magicicada septendecim mating by Roy Troutman
Magicicada septendecim mating by Roy Troutman

Magicicada staring at you by Roy Troutman
Magicicada staring at you by Roy Troutman

May 27, 2023

2023 Magicicada straggler update

Filed under: Brood X | Brood XIII | Brood XIV | Brood XIX | Magicicada | Periodical — Dan @ 6:49 am

Updated for June 7th!

Here’s a map of 2023 Magicicada straggler sightings from 2023 Magicicada stragglers iNaturalist project and the Cicada Safari app. Dr. Gene Kritsky compiled the map.

Kritsky map June 7

It looks like there are plenty of stragglers from these broods:

Learn about Magicicada stragglers.

April 13, 2023

Brood XIII and Brood XIX Magicicada will both emerge in 2024

Filed under: Brood XIII | Brood XIX | Periodical — Dan @ 9:42 am

News! A Brood XIX straggler has emerged in Georgia! More stragglers have been sighted in Hartselle AL, Pittsboro, NC, Chattanooga, TN, Asheboro, NC, and Chapel Hill, NC.

2024 will be a “magical” year for cicada fans because the periodical cicada broods XIII and XIX will emerge in 2024. These broods co-emerge every 221 years (13 X 17). The last time they co-emerged was in 1803, the same year as the Louisiana Purchase (the same year the U.S. got Brood XIX states Louisiana, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma). Coincidence? Perhaps.

Thomas Jefferson thinking of the cicadas he just bought.

Brood XIII (13) has a 17-year lifecycle and is found in the states of IA, IL, IN, MI, and WI. This brood features the species Magicicada septendecim, Magicicada cassini, and Magicicada septendecula.

People (cicada tourists) have begun to ask “Where is the best place to see Brood XIII in 2024?”. I can recommend the Ryerson Conservation Area in Deerfield, IL. See photos and videos from my trip there in 2007. Illinois has both Brood XIII and Brood XIX, and all 7 Magicicada species. So you could spend a week in southern Illinois for Brood XIX and then travel north to Deerfield for Brood XIII.

Brood XIX (19) has a 13-year lifecycle and is found in the states of AL, AR, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MO, MS, NC, OK, SC, TN, and VA. This brood is also known as the Great Southern Brood and features the species Magicicada tredecim, Magicicada neotredecim, Magicicada tredecassini, and Magicicada tredecula.

Do these broods overlap? If they do, it’s in the Springfield, Illinois area. Springfield is a good place for your cicada sightseeing “basecamp”. Take a look at these maps on the UCONN Cicadas website: Brood XIX and Brood XIII.

Your next chance to see and hear two broods co-emerge will be in 2037 when Brood XIX and Brood IX (9) emerge.

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