Cicada Mania

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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, Cicada Gormandize:
Tom eats a cicada


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

Brood VII will return in 2035.

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 Cicadas @ UCONN 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.

Magicicada septendecim Brood VII 2018 09

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 Magicicada septendecim; Brood II

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.
  • 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.

1907 Map Marlatt, C.L.. 1907. The periodical cicada. Washington, D.C. : U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Bureau of Entomology.

Marlatt 1907 07 Brood VII

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

December 10, 2017

The World Cup Cicada, Chremistica ribhoi

Filed under: Chremistica | India | Periodical | Sudhanya Hajong | Tacuini (Cryptotympanini) — Tags: — Dan @ 1:01 am

Update: this cicada has a Leap-Year Brood (2024) as well as a World-Cup Brood (2026)! Both have 4-year year life cycle.

cicada soccer

Chremistica ribhoi Hajong and Yaakop 2013 is a cicada that lives in the Ri-Boi district of India. C. ribhoi is known as the World Cup cicada because it emerges every four years in synch with the World Cup association football (soccer) tournament.

C. ribhoi is known locally as Niangtasar. It only lives in a very small area: Saiden village (25°51’37.1″N 91°51’16.3″E) and Lailad/Nongkhyllem Wildlife Sanctuary (25°55’09.7″N 91°46’25.0″E) situated on the northern part of the state of Meghalaya. The cicada can be identified by the presence of two white spots on either side of the anterior abdominal segment.

Researcher Sudhanya Hajong is gearing up to study these cicadas since this is the year they will emerge. Ri-Boi area locals use these cicadas as a food source and fish bait. These cicadas are threatened by deforestation (cutting down forests for agricultural purposes). Sudhanya plans to educate locals about conserving them and protecting their habitat.

Photos of Chremistica ribhoi.

Most of the facts in the post come from the following document: Hajong, S.R. 2013. Mass emergence of a cicada (Homoptera: Cicadidae) and its capture methods and consumption by villagers in ri-bhoi district of Meghalaya. Department of Zoology, North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong – 793 022, Meghalaya, India.

Thanks to Chris Simon of The Simon Lab at UCONN for providing the information that made this post possible.

Note: the image in this article is not an accurate depiction of C. ribhoi. 🙂


There’s also a brood of C. ribhoi that emerges during Leap-years.

November 4, 2017

Fiji 8-year periodical Nanai aka Raiateana knowlesi

Filed under: Fiji | Periodical | Raiateana | Tacuini (Cryptotympanini) — Dan @ 1:25 am

Fiji $100 note

This cicada will next emerge in 2025.

Update (11/4/2017): from Facebook, it looks like folks are finding them. Here’s an image.

Update (9/13/2017): the Nanai have begun to emerge! This cicada last emerged in 2009 in Nadroga-Navosa and Serua Provinces, and now again emerge in 2017. People in Fuji will be able to report sightings to nanai-tracker.herokuapp.com.

Notes from Chris Simon:

Early this morning I got the first Reports of the 8-year periodical Nanai emerging in Navosa, Fiji! Some people in that area had them for dinner.

This confirms earlier reports of the eight-year periodicity. There was some uncertainty because the original specimens were dated (1906) a year later than they would be if on the current 8-year schedule.

Duffels and Ewart (1988, The Cicadas of the Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga Islands, their taxonomy and Biogeograohy) noted that “Until recently the present species is only known from three males collected in “Fijii” in 1906 by C. Knowles.” Duffels was not able to describe them when he first saw the specimens because they were missing the male genitalia. After obtaining, “a series of females and two males” from Dick Watling and Andrew Laurie in 1986, Duffels was able to assign it to the genus Raiateana. There is one other species of Raiateana in Fiji, R. kuruduadua (two subspecies in Fiji and one in Samoa) but it is not periodical as far as we know.

You might be familiar with American periodical cicadas (Magicicada) and the World-cup synchronized Chremistica ribhoi of India, but Fiji has a periodical cicada too: the 8-year periodical Nanai cicada aka Raiateana knowlesi.

It also appears on Fiji’s $100 note.

There’s even a local legend about the cicada.

More information:

Thanks to Chris Simon of the University of Connecticut for this information.

More shots of the Fiji $100 note and the folder it comes in:

Fiji $100 note

Fiji $100 note

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

April 27, 2017

Brood VI 17-Year Cicadas Due in Spring of 2017

Filed under: Brood VI | Magicicada | Periodical — Dan @ 1:01 am

Brood VI will next emerge in 2034.

This page was last updated in 2017.

Final Update: I traveled to Wisconsin last week and spent a few days looking for cicadas in the southern part of the state (Madison, Baraboo, Janesville, Cedar Bluff, Dodgeville) but unfortunately I did not see or hear any. :(. So far this year though, Brood VI was spotted in GA, NC, SC, OK, OH and perhaps NY….

BROOD VI

Previous updates can be found in the comments.

Brood VI (6) 17-year cicadas (“locusts”) will emerge in the spring of 2017. The main group will emerge in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia. Other lesser groups should emerge in Ohio & Wisconsin. And possibly other states/locations as well.

About Brood VI:

The cicada species that will emerge are Magicicada septendecim1, Magicicada septendecula1, and possibly Magicicada cassini2. These periodical cicadas have a 17-year life cycle. The last time they emerged was 2000.

When: Generally speaking, these cicadas will begin to emerge when the soil 8" beneath the ground reaches 64 degrees Fahrenheit 3. A nice, warm rain will often trigger an emergence. So, definitely May, but something might happen in April if we have a particularly hot spring.

Report a sighting: If you see or heard cicadas, please report them to Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly Magicicada.org). This helps researchers map the location of the cicadas.

Locations where they are likely to emerge:

This data comes from the Cicada Central Magicicada Database6 and other sources 5, 7.

Georgia:

Counties:

Best bet: Rabun.6

1889 document: Dade (Trenton), Elbert (Elberton), Floyd (Rome), Habersham (Turnerville), Hill (Virgil), Paulding (Brownsville), Rabun, Spalding (Experiment), White (Tesnatee). 7

Not Atlanta.

North Carolina:

Counties:

Best bet: Buncombe (Asheville), Burke, Caldwell, Henderson, McDowell, Polk, Wilkes6.

1889 document: Alexander (Mount Pisgah, Taylorsville), Bladen, Buncombe (Asheville), Burke (Morganton), Cabarrus, Caldwell (Lenoir, Hickory), Catawba (Claremont, Maiden), Henderson (Westfeldt Park, Horse Shoe), Iredell, Lincoln (Denver, Lincolnton), Macon (Franklin), McDowell (Greenlee), Moore, Montgomery, Pender (Long Creek), Polk (Columbus, Saluda, Mill Spring), Rabun (Highlands), Randolph, Rutherford, Swain (Whittier), Transylvania, Union (Waxhaw), Washington, Wilkes (Moravian Falls, Wilkesboro).7

South Carolina:

Counties:

Best bet: Oconee, Pickens6.

1889 document: Oconee (Stumphouse Mountain which is near Westminster).7

Brood VI

Wisconsin:

Wisconsin seems like a sure thing as well.

Counties:

Best bet: Columbia, Dane, Rock, Sauk (Baraboo)5

1889 document (aside from those mentioned above: Burnett (Spooner), Columbia (Madison), Crawford (Towerville), Dane (Janesville), Fond du Lac (Ripon), Green Lake (Dartford), Marquette (Harrisville), Sauk (Baraboo), Sawyer (Hayward), Washburn (Shell Lake), Waushara (Auroraville). 7

Ohio

Counties:

Best bet: Hamilton (Hyde Park, Delhi, Finneytown, Green Township, Anderson). 5

1889 document: Carroll, Champaign, Columbiana, Delaware, Madison, Mahoning, Montgomery, Morrow, Pickaway, Shelby, Union.

And Maybe…

Various counties in Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. More about that here.

Learn more about Brood VI:

Wanted Poster

Download a PDF of the wanted poster (1.3MB).

(more…)

July 23, 2016

Reading a 97 year old cicada news article

Filed under: Magicicada | Periodical — Dan @ 5:02 am

Locust

I was looking through old newspapers for articles about periodical cicadas. I found an article in the Taiban Valley News from April of 1919, titled “17-Year Locust” Due This Year1. The Taiban Valley news was published out of New Mexico, which does not experience periodical cicadas aka “17-year locusts”, so I guess the story was supplied to its readers as a curiosity — just something oddball/interesting to read. The text of the article was supplied by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (possibly C.L. Marlatt himself), and the main image of the article is an illustration that appeared previously in U.S. Department of Agriculture documents and is attributable to a Miss L. Sullivan2.

“Locusts”

97 years ago people called periodical cicadas “locusts”, just as they do today. I quote, “It has been so long miscalled by the name of locust, however, that there is no hope of divesting it of that incorrect appellation”. “No hope”! Even today, about half the people I meet call them “locusts”.

Human lifespans were a lot shorter 97 years ago

The next fact — and this startled me — is how short the average human lifespan was 97 years ago. I quote: “The fact that it appears in countless numbers one year, then is not seen again for half the average lifetime of human beings and then suddenly appears again in countless numbers”.

Half the average lifespan of human beings? Back in 1919 the average life expectancy was just 55. At most a person could expect to witness 3 emergences back then, and since babies and toddlers really don’t remember things, 2 times makes sense. Today (2016) life expectancy is around 79 years in the U.S., which means the average person will only get to see 4. I’ve seen 9, but I travel around.

Vermont still had periodical cicadas:

Back in 1919, Vermont still had periodical cicadas: “with some Isolated colonies as far northeast as upper Vermont”. Since then, they must have gone extinct.

Brood 18?

The article talks about Brood 18 emerging in the same year as Brood 10 (note, the article does not use Roman numerals). I believe the Brood 18 the article they refer to is what we now call Brood 19 (XIX) today. The article describes Brood 18 as having a 13-year life cycle, and occurring in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. The only brood that matches that is Brood XIX (see the map).

If it is indeed Brood XIX, the article is likely incorrect about the coincidence of Brood XIX and X emerging in 1919. While Brood X definitely emerged in 1919, Brood XIX would emerge in the following year 2020. Interestingly enough, the now extinct Brood XI emerged in 2020 (in Connecticut).

The rest of the article is less remarkable, but still a fun read for “the most interesting insect in the world”.

Update (8/26/2016):

David Marshall of the University of Connecticut pointed out a map of the Brood XVIII that was indeed set for emergence in 1919, which is likely what the writes of the article were citing. David points out though that this Brood XVIII was likely comprised of one-year-early emergences (stragglers) of Brood XIX, rather than an actual unique brood.

Brood XVIII

The periodical cicada, Marlatt, C. L., Washington, D.C. :U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Bureau of Entomology,1907.

1 Taiban Valley news., Taiban, Roosevelt County, N.M. April 04, 1919.
2 C. L. MARLATT. Account Of Cicada Septendecim, Its Natural Enemies And The Means Of Preventing Its Injury, Together With A Summary Of The Distribution Of The Different Broods. U. S. Department Of Agriculture. Division Of Entomology. Bulletin No. 14. 1898.

June 26, 2016

Got Flagging? Report flagging and egg nests.

Filed under: Community Science | Flagging | Magicicada | Ovipositing | Periodical — Dan @ 1:01 am

Got flagging? Flagging happens when tree branches wilt or die due to cicada egg laying, resulting in bunches of brown leaves. Don’t worry, this will not cause trees to die, unless they are small and weak trees. Flagging can actually do a tree a favor, by removing its weakest branches.

Some video of cicada flagging:

A photo of flagging:

Periodical Cicada Flagging

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