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May 23, 2013

A Cicada Kickstarter: Return of the Cicadas

Filed under: Magicicada | Periodical | Pop Culture — Dan @ 8:29 pm

Want to sponsor what could be the greatest cicada documentary of all time? Samuel Orr has a Kickstarter to fund the production of his 17 year cicada documentary Return of the Cicadas.

Rewards for backing the project include cool stuff like the film (download, dvd or bluray depending on your pledge amount) and a fine art photo print.

Just watch Samuel’s trailer for the film. You will want to back this film after seeing the trailer:

Return of the Cicadas from motionkicker on Vimeo.

More information about Samuel and the Kickstarter:

I’m a natural history filmmaker and time-lapse photographer (http://www.motionkicker.com/time-lapse/), and have been following and filming the various broods of periodical cicadas since 2007 (there are multiple groupings of cicadas called broods that come out in different years across the eastern U.S.). I’ve got 200+ hours of footage, and am working towards an hour documentary that focuses on the 17-year varieties as well as cicadas in general. This film is anticipated in 2014, and will be broadcast on PBS afterwards.

May 19, 2013

Tips for photographing adult Magicicadas for identification purposes

When photographing adult Magicicadas, particularly if you are interested in identifying their species and gender, it is important to photograph them from multiple angles: ventral (bottom) and lateral (left or right) particularly near the head. Please take photos of the dorsal (top), anterior (front), posterior (hind) and other angles, however ventral and left or right are the best sides to help identify the species.

We also encourage you to clean your fingernails and include an item which can be used to determine the size of the insect, like a ruler.

The ventral view allows us to determine the species and sex.

The following photo features a male (left) and female (right) Magicicada septendecim (Linnaeus, 1758). Note the orange striped abdomen, characteristic of the M. septendecim. Also, as with other cicada species, note that the female’s abdomen comes to a point, and the male’s abdomen is thicker and ends with a “blocky-shaped” structure.
Septendecim. Osamu Hikino's Magicicada Photo

The following photo features a female (left) and male (right) Magicicada cassini (Fisher, 1851). Note the lack of distinct orange stripes on the abdomen, characteristic of the M. cassini. Their abdomens are nearly completely black. Also note that the female’s abdomen comes to a point, and the male’s abdomen is thicker and ends with a “blocky-shaped” structure.
Cassini Osamu Hikino's Magicicada Photo

Both these images were taken by the same photographer (Osamu Hikino) and we can use the size of his fingertips (nice clean nails) to compare the size of these two species. The M. cassini is relatively much smaller than the M. septendecim, which is why M. cassini is also known as the “dwarf cicada”.

I don’t have a good photo of the third species, the Magicicada septendecula Alexander and Moore, 1962 [view a photo of M. septendecula on another website]. The M. septendecula is similar to the M. cassini in size (hence smaller than the M. septendecula), but it has orange stripes like the M. septendecim, which is why it is important to get a photo of the left or right side of the insect so we can see the color of the pronotal extension.

The pronotal extension is an extension of the pronotum that lies between the Magicicada’s eye and its wing (outlined in green in the photo below). M. septendecim have orange coloring in that area, which gives us a key way to visually distinguish them from M. septendecula.

Orange marking behind eye used to identify -decim Magicicadas.

If you want to learn more about diagnosing the species and gender of cicadas (all species, not just Magicicada sp.) using photographs, track down the document Overview of Cicada Morphology by Allen F. Sanborn of Barry University.

I don’t want to discourage you from taking amazing photos of cicadas in every position and angle possible using all your fancy macro lenses and whatnot. All cicada photos are awesome, but only a few angles help us identify the insect.

May 18, 2013

Brood II cicada photos from Iselin, NJ

Filed under: Brood II | Magicicada | Periodical | Photos & Illustrations — Dan @ 10:32 am

My friend Nicole DiMaggio sent us these photos of adult Magicicadas taken in Iselin NJ. The emergence is just getting started in New Jersey, and will really kick off next Tuesday when the temps hit the 80s.

Nicole DiMaggio

Nicole DiMaggio

Brood II cicada photos from Front Royal, Va

Filed under: Brood II | Magicicada | Periodical | Photos & Illustrations — Tags: — Dan @ 8:20 am

Nature photographer Candice Trimble of Front Royal, Va, sent us these Brood II Magicicada photos.

An adult Magicicada septendecim (Linnaeus 1758):
Candice Trimble 02 - Side View

Magicicada exuvia (shell):
Candice Trimble 02 Nymph

Magicicada adult (probably an M. septendecim):
Candice Trimble 02 Face

May 10, 2013

Cicada chimneys and a nymph under a slate

Filed under: Brood II | Magicicada | Periodical | Video — Dan @ 8:21 pm

I didn’t see any nymphs emerge and undergo ecdysis tonight, but I did find plenty of cicada chimneys and nymphs trapped under slates.

Cicadas build chimneys above their holes, typically after it rains a lot and the soil becomes soft. The chimneys help keep water from rushing into their holes, and they keep ants and other menaces out.

Brood II 2013 - Dan Mozgai - Cicada Chimneys

Brood II 2013 - Dan Mozgai - Cicada Chimneys

Brood II 2013 - Dan Mozgai - Cicada Chimneys

A good place to find cicada nymphs is under backyard slates (or similar objects that cover the ground). Flip over your slates and you might find a nymph tunneling their ways to the side of the slate.

Brood II 17 Year Cicada Nymph trapped under a slate from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

May 9, 2013

Brood II 17 Year Cicadas in New Jersey

Filed under: Brood II | Magicicada | Periodical — Dan @ 9:27 pm

Jersey Cicada

Final update:

Here’s a map of all the towns reported in the comments:


View Towns where the Brood II cicadas emerged in 2013 in a larger map

Cicadas @ UCONN will eventually publish a complete and accurate map of the emergence.

17 year cicadas are about to emerge are currently emerging in New Jersey. I asked cicada super-expert Chris Simon of The Simon Lab at the University of Connecticut for some specifics. The information below is based on Dr. Simon’s notes.

Historically Brood II periodical cicadas have appeared in Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Hunterdon (in the east), Middlesex, Monmouth (“Slight in eastern part”), Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren Counties. Also, you can keep an eye on where cicadas are emerging in New Jersey (and report your own sightings) on Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly Magicicada.org), which has a live map of the emergence.

I’m personally very interested in periodical cicada sightings in Monmouth county — let us know if you spot any there.

Here are some specifics (don’t be dismayed if your town isn’t on the list — they still might appear in your town):

Atlantic County:
– Galloway

Bergen County:
– Alpine (Greenbrook Nature Sanctuary)
– Englewood
– Ft. Lee
– Oakland
– Wyckoff (near Lucine Lorrimer Sanctuary)

Essex County:
– Cedar Grove
– Essex Fells
– Livingston
– Maplewood
– Millburn (South Mountain Reservation)
– Montclair
– North Caldwell
– Short Hills (confirmed in 2013 already)
– Upper Montclair
– West Orange

Middlesex County:
– Edison (confirmed for 2013 – lots of exit holes near the Edison Monument).
– Fords
– Iselin (visually confirmed for 2013)
– Jamesburg
– Metuchen (confirmed in 2013 already)
– Perth Amboy

Mostly north of the Raritan River

Morris County:
– Flanders
– Kinnelton
– Madison
– Rockaway

Passaic County:
– West Milford

Somerset County:
– Bedminster (Pluckemin section)
– Belle Mead
– Bound Brook
– Far Hills
– Rocky Hill
– Warren

Union County:
– Fanwood
– Plainfield
– Summit (Confirmed – see a video)
– Westfield (Confirmed for 2013)

Warren County:
– Port Murray

BTW, what better way to celebrate Brood II in New Jersey like a Brood II tank top:

The Carl


April 30, 2013

Return of the Cicadas Documentary

Filed under: Brood X | Magicicada | Periodical | Samuel Orr — Dan @ 2:46 am

Return of the Cicadas is a documentary about the return of the Brood X periodical cicadas, by producer Samuel Orr. It is worth watching for for folks in the Brood II area so they know what to expect.

Take a look:

April 16, 2013

The first Brood II emergence report of 2013

Filed under: Brood II | Magicicada | Periodical — Dan @ 5:20 pm

Yesterday I visited my family’s house in Metuchen, New Jersey. I looked in the backyard and found loads of cicada holes — a hole every 6″ to 12″. I was also clear that animals, like squirrels and raccoons, had been digging at many of the holes. Today I got a spade and gently dug around one of the holes. About 3″ down I found a Magicicada cassini nymph, about 1 inch in length, legs wiggling slowly, red eyes.

Here’s the hole:

Nymph Hole

Here is the nymph:

Brood II cicada Nymph

It’s clear that the cicadas are ready to emerge, and are just waiting for the temperatures to get a little warmer (to warm their bodies to around 64 degrees F/18º C). Today reached 72 degrees F. It will reach 77 F on Friday, and some will likely emerge. Saturday temperatures will be back down to 39 F. These cicadas will likely be confused for a little while.

More holes, many of which were widened by predators looking for a cicada snack!

Brood II; Cicada Holes

Also visit: updates on the emergence.

April 14, 2013

How you can help with temperature related periodical cicada research

Filed under: Brood II | Community Science | Gene Kritsky | Magicicada | Periodical — Dan @ 5:35 am

Gene Kritsky is one of the leading periodical cicada researchers. He’s asked that we help with his research regarding temperature and cicada emergence. He needs to know the date that cicadas first emerge, and then the date when they appear in large numbers in a given locality. To contact Gene with your findings, email him at cdarwin@aol.com.

Here are the details:

I wanted to alert you to a paper that I published with Roy after Brood XIV. I had placed sensors at cicada depths in Roy’s backyard, and also hung others in the area trees. We recorded the temperatures at 10 minute intervals at all the locations. I was trying to find a weather model to predict soil temperatures without using probes. This would be cheaper for people wanting to monitor an impending emergence. This research is based on what potato farmers do to track the growth of their crop.

We found that the average of the running three day and two day mean temperatures was a good predictor of soil temps.

The formula along with the extended forecast can be used to forecast soil temperatures. Once we get the 64º F soil temps and a nice rain we got emergences. I am hoping to test this model again this year, which in part is why I emailing you. What I need to know is the date that cicadas first emerge, and then the date when they appear in large numbers in a given locality. I will then use weather data to check the soil model. Can you ask readers to send me that info? Many thanks.

You can find more details on the model at:

http://inside.msj.edu/academics/faculty/kritskg/cicada/Site/Estimating_soil_temperature.html

An easier way of getting to the details is to go to www.msj.edu/cicada and click on estimating soil temperatures. That site will also link them to John’s mapping page, activities for kids, etc.

Thank you for your help.

Gene Kritsky

More info about Gene Kritsky:

April 11, 2013

My Goals and Objectives for the Brood II Emergence

Filed under: Brood II | Magicicada | Periodical — Dan @ 10:34 pm

My Goals and Objectives for the Brood II Emergence:

Cicada Shirt

  1. Continue to spread the word about Brood II periodical cicadas.
  2. Take excellent photographs of all three 17-year Magicicada species: M. septendecim, M. cassini, and M. septendecula.
  3. Record the songs of each of the species.
  4. Document the emergence on video from start to finish.
  5. Visit some of the events and exhibits at the Staten Island Museum.
  6. Eat at Chez Catherine a cicada-themed restaurant in Westfield,NJ (Westfield will experience Brood II BTW).
  7. Travel all around the NJ area, report cicada signings to Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly Magicicada.org).
  8. Look out for rare white or blue eyed cicadas.
  9. Meet up with fellow cicada enthusiasts and researchers like Elias Bonaros and Roy Troutman.
  10. And of course dress the part, and wear cicada-related clothes and paraphernalia.
  11. Make sure my sister’s chihuahua doesn’t choke on a cicada.

Chances are you might see me during the emergence. I’m told I look like “Lucius Malfoy”.


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