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April 28, 2007

Magicicada Database

Filed under: Brood XIII | Magicicada — Dan @ 9:33 am

If you’re looking for historical information about previous brood emergences try Cicada Central’s Magicicada Database. Click on the link that reads Magicicada Database and then follow the instructions (hint: search for the 13 (XIII) brood and the year 1990).

April 24, 2007

The first Brood XIII sighting (sort of)

Filed under: Brood XIII | Magicicada — Dan @ 10:20 am

Rene reported ]that she saw Magicicada nymphs in holes in a friend’s garden in SE Elmhurst Illinois.

We’re currently expecting the emergence to start on May 24th, but the hot weekend might have roused the cicadas to an early start. We’ll see.

April 21, 2007

Return of the Cicadas

Filed under: Magicicada | Samuel Orr — Dan @ 10:05 am

The Return of the Cicadas 17-Year cicada documentary will be airing on PBS in the Brood XIII emergence area soon. As soon as next Thursday, 4/26. Set your Tivo/DVR to record it!

Periodical cicadas are among the most unique creatures in the animal kingdom. After spending 17 years underground as juveniles, they emerge for a brief, cacophonous population explosion aboveground, where they transform into adults, mate, lay eggs and die off after only a few weeks.

WFYI presents Return of the Cicadas, an original local documentary produced in association with the Indiana University Research and Teaching Preserve. Producer Samuel Orr followed the life cycle of Brood X, which made its momentous ascension in the spring of 2004. It accounted for one of the largest insect outbreaks on Earth. Many different broods exist, on unique 17-year schedules. Brood XIII is due to arrive in northern Indiana this May.

Through stunning close-up video and time-lapse photography, Orr and others offer an amazing glimpse at the lives of these enigmatic insects. The documentary was made possible by the research of IU biologist Keith Clay through grants provided by the National Science Foundation. The NSF and Science Magazine recognized the production with a national award for a short 5-minute film on the Brood X outbreak.

April 7, 2007

Broodmaps with Google Maps

Filed under: Magicicada — Dan @ 10:46 am

In my spare time (not a lot lately) I’ve been working on Google maps for plotting Magicicada Brood maps. I came up with a brood map for 2004 Brood X, but in it’s current state it’s very processor-intensive because it loads an XML file with about 300 entires, and each entry requires a call to Google. It’s not ready for “prime time” (still alpha, not even beta). I’m going to recode it to work off of longitude and latitude, and that should improve performance.

Hopefully people will mail us their 2007 Brood XIII sightings so I can build a Brood XIII map as well. I might even set up a form that lets people find their location on a map, and then submit it as longitude and latitude rather an actual address (for privacy reasons).

2004 Brood X map.
brood x map

March 29, 2007

Magicicada Audio

Filed under: Magicicada | Sounds — Dan @ 8:26 pm

Here’s an audio clip of Magicicadas:

March 15, 2007

Cicada Emergence Formula

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

You could try this with northern Magicicada periodical cicadas, but I would avoid it for southern states like Louisiana (because you’ll get negative numbers, which will be confusing). Also, do not use temperature data from past years, because the weather is wildly variable and you’ll get a useless number.

Gene Kritsky was nice enough to send a paper he wrote with a formula for predicting the emergence date. E = (19.465 – t)/0.5136, where E = emergence start date in May and t = average April temperatures in °Celsius. His formula worked like a charm for predicting the Brood X emergence in Cincinnati. 80% of his sites had begun the emergence on the predicted date of May 14th of that year. Also when the ground temperature reaches a consistent ° Celsius that is another good sign the emergence is about to begin.

Try it out:

Average Mean Temperature in Celsius in April: (hint: use a site like Weather Underground to find this info)

The date should be:

Updated: we updated the form to accept 3 numbers past the decimal in case you have super-precise temperature information.

To find the Average Mean Temperature in Celsius on the Weather Underground site:

  1. Go to the site
  2. Enter your zip code in the box labeled “Find the Weather for any City, State or ZIP Code, or Airport Code or Country”
  3. Find the section of the page labeled “History & Almanac”, and click the “April Calendar View” link.
  4. Then scroll to the top of that page and you’ll find the info you need.

Thanks to Roy Troutman and Gene.

March 3, 2007

More Brood XIII News

Filed under: Brood XIII | Magicicada — Dan @ 12:40 pm

Cicadas in Illinois, 13 or 17 Year “Locust”? — this page features a brood map of Illinois that shows you the general area where they’ll appear.

March 1, 2007

First News Story About Brood XIII Emergence

Filed under: Brood XIII | Magicicada — Dan @ 9:48 am

CicadaMobile hits the road, and article in the Daily Herald by Mike Zawislak. The Lake County Forest Preserve District has hired a cicada expert to travel around, educating people about cicadas. Awesome.

Starting April 16, the forest preserve district’s Cicada Mobile will be motoring to schools, festivals, farmers markets and other community gatherings through July. The program is free.

Thanks to Roy Troutman for passing this along.

February 4, 2007

Periodic Cicadas Help Scientists Study Superfast Muscle

Filed under: Magicicada — Dan @ 8:18 am

An interesting article sent to us by Roy Troutman: Periodic Cicadas Help Scientists Study Superfast Muscle.

for scientists at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), the periodic cicada also offer clues about how high-speed and high- performance muscles work, and how this knowledge might someday make human muscle work better.

January 15, 2007

My Magicicada Diary from 1996

Filed under: Magicicada — Dan @ 8:40 pm

1996 was the year I started this site, and the year I discovered the 17-year cicada. This is my cicada diary from 1996:

  • Sunday, May 19th: Metuchen, New Jersey; I found the first desiccated cicada nymph exoskeleton on my patio. My cat disappears.
  • Tuesday, May 21st: I found about 40 nymph exoskeletons on my patio, a pine tree and a maple tree. I also spotted an adult climbing the maple and two crippled adults rolling about the base of the tree.
  • Wednesday, May 22nd: Bonanza! I found about 500 adults perched on just about everything in my yard: trees, patio furniture, the foundation of my home, the garden hose, garbage cans, the missing cat’s water dish, my hair…just plain everywhere! Gruesome!
  • Saturday, May 25th: Avenel, New Jersey; Party at the Ritzow’s. Literally hundreds of adult cicadas perched high above in oak trees sneer at decadent humans sipping martini’s, playing croquet. Bourgeois homosapiens…bah humbug!
  • Thursday, May 30th: Metuchen, New Jersey; Still no sign of the cat. Sitting outside on my patio around 8:30pm I hear a “snap”, “crackle” and “popping” sound. Rice Crispies? No. More like cicadas nymphs crawling out of their holes and on to my garden wall to molt into adult hood. Not the loveliest sight.
  • Saturday, June 1st: Westfield, New Jersey; Dave Wilson and Claire Adas’ wedding. A beautiful ceremony and reception, with the exception of the 9000 uninvited cicadas: crawling up peoples legs, crunching underfoot, landing in refreshments…a moment to cherish and remember!
  • Tuesday, June 4th: North Edison, New Jersey; The cicadas have begun to sing! All together they sound like a Boeing 767 is circling 40 feet overhead. The sound is that awesome. 10 inch deep piles of dying post coitus adults litter the base of trees. The invasion has only begun!
  • Wednesday, June 5th – Monday, June 17th: Metuchen, North Edison, Colonia, Avenel, New Jersey; The invasion is in full effect! Home owners in North Edison and Colonia report having to haul away the dying bodies of cicadas in wheelbarrows! Residents describe the cicadas’ combined mating screams as “loud as a UFO” [how do they know what a UFO sounds like?] and “like a Mack Truck was floating ten foot above your head”! Someone even told me cicadas taste like shrimp! I guess they made the best of a bad situation.
  • Wednesday, June 26th: Metuchen, New Jersey; It appears the invasion is over. All that remains is the dismembered, rotting corpses and the memories, sweet, sweet, memories. But remember, They’ll be back…in the year 2013!
  • Saturday, August 3rd: Metuchen, New Jersey; Looking out my second story window I can clearly see the damage done by the 17-year cicadas. Brown patches of dead leaves speckle local oak and maple trees, revealing the branches where the female cicada has chosen to lay her eggs; an interesting “natural disaster”, but, not as heart-breaking as an earth quake or a flood. Clearly the most provocative news regarding cicadas is the current hatch of annual cicadas, which are larger than the “17-year” cicadas (thoroughly illustrated within this web page) and greener. Another dissimilarity is the difference in their respective mating calls: while the “17-year” cicada makes a whirring sound somewhere between the motor of a vacuum cleaner and a car alarm, the “annual” cicada sounds more like a lawn sprinkler or maybe a sewing machine. Although I can clearly hear hundreds of “annual” cicadas and I have found their shells, I haven’t visually located a single one ! Another cicada related event has been the recent hatch of “cicada killer” wasps. These two-inch long giant wasps only prey upon, our friend, the defenseless cicada. I haven’t located these creatures either, but, they are definitely out there. Cicadas beware!
  • Wednesday, August 26th: Metuchen, New Jersey; the Tibicen cicadas continue to sing…
  • Wednesday, November 6th: Metuchen, New Jersey; they are all dead or sucking on roots underground.

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