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May 31, 2017

Neotibicen similaris apalachicola, a new cicada subspecies

Filed under: David Marshall | Kathy Hill | Neotibicen | Papers and Documents | United States — Tags: — Dan @ 6:28 am

A new subspecies of the Similar Dog-Day Cicada has been described in the paper A new Neotibicen cicada subspecies (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) from the southeastern USA forms hybrid zones with a widespread relative despite a divergent male calling song by David C. Marshall and Kathy B. R. Hill (Zootaxa, Vol 4272, No 4). The cicada is named Neotibicen similaris apalachicola.

This cicada lives in Florida, Georgia & Alabama, and hybridizes with the other Similar Dog-Day Cicada sub-speces, Neotibicen similaris similaris. The document is available on biotaxa.org.

A morphologically cryptic subspecies of Neotibicen similaris (Smith and Grossbeck) is described from forests of the Apalachicola region of the southeastern United States. Although the new form exhibits a highly distinctive male calling song, it hybridizes extensively where it meets populations of the nominate subspecies in parapatry, by which it is nearly surrounded. This is the first reported example of hybridization between North American nonperiodical cicadas. Acoustic and morphological characters are added to the original description of the nominate subspecies, and illustrations of complex hybrid song phenotypes are presented. The biogeography of N. similaris is discussed in light of historical changes in forest composition on the southeastern Coastal Plain.

You will find song samples and maps on the Insect Singers website.

I think this is an image of the new cicada:

December 4, 2016

Gigatibicen, Ameritibicen, Paratibicen

Filed under: Lyristes | Megatibicen | Neotibicen | Tibicen | Young June Lee — Dan @ 11:10 am

Gigatibicen
For some reason I associate “Giga” with “Gigabytes” and storage media like Flash drives, which explains this joke image.

Over the past two years there have been quite a few updates to the genera of the cicadas that were organized under the Tibicen genus earlier this decade.

The most recent paper by Young June Lee introduces the genera Gigatibicen, Ameritibicen, and Paratibicen 1. Earlier this year there was a paper by Allen Sanborn and Maxine Heath that introduced the genus Megatibicen 3, and in 2015 there was a paper by Kathy Hill and others that introduced Neotibicen and Hadoa 2.

See the end of the article for links to these papers, and related articles on CicadaMania.com.

The table below shows the names/synonyms (sub species have been removed to keep the table compact):

(Tibicen circa 2014) Hill (2015)2 Sanborn, Heath (2016)3 Lee (2016)1
Tibicen auletes Neotibicen auletes Megatibicen auletes Gigatibicen auletes
Tibicen auriferus Neotibicen auriferus no change no change
Tibicen canicularis Neotibicen canicularis no change no change
Tibicen cultriformis Neotibicen cultriformis Megatibicen cultriformis Ameritibicen cultriformis
Tibicen davisi davisi Neotibicen davisi no change no change
Tibicen dealbatus Neotibicen dealbatus Megatibicen dealbatus Ameritibicen dealbatus
Tibicen dorsatus Neotibicen dorsatus Megatibicen dorsatus Ameritibicen dorsatus
Tibicen figuratus Neotibicen figuratus Megatibicen figuratus Ameritibicen figuratus
Tibicen latifasciatus Neotibicen latifasciatus no change no change
Tibicen linnei Neotibicen linnei no change no change
Tibicen lyricen engelhardti Neotibicen lyricen no change no change
Tibicen pronotalis pronotalis Neotibicen pronotalis Megatibicen pronotalis Ameritibicen pronotalis
Tibicen pruinosus fulvus Neotibicen pruinosus no change no change
Tibicen resh Neotibicen resh Megatibicen resh Gigatibicen resh
Tibicen resonans Neotibicen resonans Megatibicen resonans Gigatibicen resonans
Tibicen robinsonianus Neotibicen robinsonianus no change no change
Tibicen similaris Neotibicen similaris no change Paratibicen similaris
Tibicen superbus Neotibicen superbus no change no change
Tibicen tibicen australis Neotibicen tibicen no change no change
Tibicen tremulus Neotibicen tremulus Megatibicen tremulus Ameritibicen tremulus
Tibicen winnemanna Neotibicen winnemanna no change no change
Tibicen bifidus Hadoa bifida no change no change
Tibicen chiricahua Hadoa chiricahua no change no change
Tibicen duryi Hadoa duryi no change no change
Tibicen inauditus Hadoa inaudita no change no change
Tibicen longioperculus Hadoa longiopercula no change no change
Tibicen neomexicensis Hadoa neomexicensis no change no change
Tibicen parallelus Hadoa parallela no change no change
Tibicen simplex Hadoa simplex no change no change
Tibicen texanus Hadoa texana no change no change
Tibicen townsendii Hadoa townsendii no change no change
  • 1 Lee, Y.J. 2016. Description of three new genera, Paratibicen, Gigatibicen, and Ameritibicen, of Cryptotympanini (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) and a key to their species Journal of Asia-Pacific Biodiversity, Volume 9, Issue 4, 1 December 2016, Pages 448—454. Link to Paper.
  • 2 Hill, et al. 2015. Molecular phylogenetics, diversification, and systematics of Tibicen Latreille 1825 and allied cicadas of the tribe Cryptotympanini, with three new genera and emphasis on species from the USA and Canada (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha: Cicadidae), Zootaxa, Volume 3985, Issue 2, Pages 219—251. Link to Paper
  • 3 Sanborn A.F., Heath, M.S. 2016. Megatibicen n. gen., a new North American cicada genus (Hemiptera: Cicadidae: Cicadinae: Cryptotympanini), Zootaxa, Volume 4168, Issue 3. Link to Paper

September 17, 2016

What is Megatibicen?!

Filed under: Allen F. Sanborn | David Marshall | Maxine E. Heath | Megatibicen | Neotibicen — Dan @ 9:39 am

Update (9/20): I guessed the species correctly: all the Large Flute Players.

Update (9/24): I neglected to note that there’s another paper out there by Young June Lee called Description of three new genera, Paratibicen, Megatibicen, and Ameritibicen, of Cryptotympanini (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) and a key to their species. Link to it here. This manuscript goes beyond one new genus, and instead introduces three: Paratibicen, Megatibicen, and Ameritibicen. Lee’s paper differs from Sanborn & Heath in that the large Neotibicen are spit into Megatibicen and Ameritibicen in Young’s document, but they’re all Megatibicen in Sanborn & Heath’s paper.

Megatibicen

Last night I had a rough night’s sleep. I tossed and turned all night long. I remember looking at the clock and seeing 4 am, and thinking “tomorrow is ruined”. Sometime during the night I dreamt of finding thousands of molted Neotibicen exuvia clinging to shrubbery — a rare if not impossible sight in real life.

When I woke I checked my email and found a communication from David Marshall. David is well known and respected in the cicada world for many things including describing the 7th species of Magicicada with John Cooley, as well as being part of the team who defined the Neotibicen and Hadoa genera (link to paper)1.

David wrote to let me know that Allen F. Sanborn and Maxine S. Heath had published a new paper titled: Megatibicen n. gen., a new North American cicada genus (Hemiptera: Cicadidae: Cicadinae: Cryptotympanini), 2016, Zootaxa Vol 4168, No 3.(link).

So, what is MEGATIBICEN? Assumptions after the abstract.

Here is the abstract:

The genus Tibicen has had a confusing history (see summary in Boulard and Puissant 2014; Marshall and Hill 2014; Sanborn 2014). Boulard and his colleague (Boulard 1984; 1988; 1997; 2001; 2003; Boulard and Puissant 2013; 2014; 2015) have argued for the suppression of Tibicen and the taxa derivatived from it in favor of Lyristes Horváth. Boulard’s argument for suppression was first described in Melville and Sims (1984) who presented the case for suppression to the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature with further comments made by Hamilton (1985), Boulard (1985), and Lauterer (1985). A lack of action resulted in additional comments being published in 2014 again supporting the retention (Sanborn 2014; Marshall and Hill 2014) or the suppression (Boulard and Puissant 2014) of Tibicen.

My guess, without reading the document, is that Megatibicen includes the larger North America Neotibicen species, including the “auletes group” (M. auletes, M. resh, M. figuratus, M. resonans), the “pronotalis group” (M. pronotalis, M. dealbatus, M. cultriformis) and the “dorsatus group” (M. dorsatus, M. tremulus), or a mix of these. M. auletes is the largest cicada in North America. “Mega” is the Greek word for “very large” or “great”. Word is that Kathy Hill and David Marshall also planned on describing a Megatibicen genus at one point, as well.

Whenever cicada names change it causes feelings of bemusement, discontentment, and discomfort amongst some cicada researchers and fans. I know I don’t like it because I have to update the names of cicadas in 100’s of places on this website ;). Some folks simply disagree with the folks writing the paper. Some people prefer former names because they sound nicer (e.g. N. chloromerus vs N. tibicen tibicen). Some people simply do not like change.

Related: Here’s my article on when Neotibicen & Hadoa were established from Tibicen.

1 Hill, et al. Molecular phylogenetics, diversification, and systematics of Tibicen Latreille 1825 and allied cicadas of the tribe Cryptotympanini, with three new genera and emphasis on species from the USA and Canada (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha: Cicadidae) 2015, Zootaxa 3985 (2): 219—251.

September 7, 2016

Linne’s Cicada in Cape May County, NJ

Filed under: Elias Bonaros | Neotibicen — Tags: — Dan @ 8:15 pm

Here’s some footage of a Neotibicen linnei in Woodbine, Cape May County, NJ.

Elias almost caught it.

This footage was a byproduct of our cicada hunt for a different cicada, Neotibicen latifasciatus.

August 29, 2016

Neotibicen latifasciatus – the South Jersey Shore Screamer

Filed under: Elias Bonaros | Neotibicen — Tags: — Dan @ 9:05 pm

This is a Neotibicen latifasciatus (Davis, 1915) commonly known as the Coastal Scissor Grinder, locally known as a Yodeling Cedar Sucker in Florida and Beach Banshee in North Carolina 3:

Dorsal view of two latifasciatus males

See more photos.

The holotype — a single type specimen on which the description of a new species is based — for the cicada Neotibicen latifasciatus was gathered from Cold Spring, Cape May County1. I feel that N. latifasciatus needs a common name indicative of Cape May, New Jersey. Here are my ideas:

  1. Cape May Crooner
  2. Cape May Crier
  3. Cape May Car Alarm
  4. Shore Shrieker
  5. Woodbine Warbler
  6. South Jersey Shore Screamer

The last one is my favorite (changed it to South ;))

N. latifasciatus is a cicada found along the east coast of the United States, and is known for its preference for cedar trees. It can be found in New Jersey, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia2, Florida and points in between3. Its affinity for cedar trees (plus its distinct call) makes it relatively easy to locate and capture — if you’re willing to get a little messy climbing through the thick & sticky branches of a cedar tree. A thin mist of sap from the cedar seems to coat the wings of these cicadas, and it’s worth mentioning that their wings are often torn and ragged, probably resulting from the thick cedar foliage.

When William T. Davis first described N. latifasciatus in 19154, he described it as a variety of Cicada pruinosa (now Neotibicen pruinosus pruinosus). This is understandable, since they sound very much alike, and look alike except for the the white bands on the sides of the latifasciatus, some other minor morphological differences, and habitats. pruinosus, latifasciatus, winnemanna, linnei, canicularis, and robinsonianus are collectively known as the Green [Neo]tibicen Species3 or simply “the Green Group”.They’re called Green because much of their heads, collars, pronotums and mesonotums are green in color.

On Saturday, August 20th, 2016, I met Elias Bonaros and Annette DeGiovine-Oliveira in Middle Township, Cape May County to search for latifasciatus. I arrived before they did and located a relatively quiet road lined with cedar trees, filled with screaming latifasciatus. From the outside cedars resemble twisting green fire; on the inside they’re a mess of tightly-packed, dirty branches — perfect for an insect to hide. The road and trees were surrounded by briny marshland, less than a mile from the Atlantic Ocean. Other than cicadas, there were an abundance of annoying greenhead flies (Tabanus nigrovittatus), and not annoying at all katydids. The temperature was in the mid 80s, the air was humid, the sun was brutal, and the flies thought I was delicious. In the 5 hours we spent photographing and gathering specimens, I drank a gallon of water. Elias handled cicada procurement duties, and Annette and I recorded the cicadas’ song and habitat.

Here’s a video summary of our adventure:

After a satisfying lunch, I went looking for other locations and found a very different but prime in-land location with taller cedar (Red and White varieties) in Woodbine Borough. There we found many exuvia, which we did not find at the other location, and heard not only latifasciatus, but also N. linnei, N. tibicen tibicen, N. canicularis, and N. auletes. Around 9pm, and almost 12 hours of cicada field-work, I called it quits. Elias and Annette stuck around and were able to observe molting latifasciatus.

The ventral side a male Neotibicen latifasciatus:
Neotibicen latifasciatus abdomen

This cicada was captured using the “clap” method of netting cicadas. This method involves two people using two nets, surrounding the cicada so it can’t find an escape path.

I would be remiss if I did not mention how delightful the people of Cape May County are. All the folks we encountered were pleasantly curious or encouraging about our cicada research activities. They also have “Custard” shops instead of Ice Cream shops.

Also check out Annette’s YouTube channel for video of the latifasciatus habitat and song.

1 Sanborn AF, Phillips PK. 2013. Biogeography of the Cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) of North America, North of Mexico. Diversity 2013, 5, 166-239.

2 Sanborn AF, Heath MS. 2012. The Cicadas (Hemipetera: Cicadoidea: Cicadidae) of North America North of Mexico. Entomological Society of America. 45.

3 BugGuide Species Neotibicen latifasciatus page.

4 Davis WT. 1915a. Notes on some cicadas from the eastern and central United States with a description of a new variety of Cicada pruinosa. Journal of the New York Entomological Society 23: 1—10. (see the North American Cicadas page)

August 27, 2016

Neotibicen linnei from Middletown, NJ

Filed under: Neotibicen — Tags: — Dan @ 9:28 pm

One of my favorite things to do during the summer is look for cicadas during my lunch break.

Here’s a Linne’s Cicada I grabbed off a tree. It was not happy, as you might imagine, so went straight into a very loud alarm squawk.

There are many cicadas in the eastern U.S. that look like Linne’s Cicada but some clues that it is a Linne’s are the green collar, a bend in the coastal margin of the wing, dark coloration down the center of its abdomen, and only two white pruinose spots on its dorsal side.

N. linnei

More posts to come this week.

August 12, 2016

Watch a Swamp Cicada shed its skin

Filed under: Neotibicen — Dan @ 6:30 am

Here’s a video I made this week. It is a Neotibicen tibicen tibicen (formerly Tibicen chloromera) shedding its skin as it enters the final phase of its development. The video is in 4K HD, but you have to fuss with the YouTube interface to see it at that resolution (good luck). Each frame represents a 30 sec time span.

Spoilers:

At 18 seconds its head pops out of its old skin.

At 27 seconds it frees its wings.

At 51 seconds it flips and unfurls its wings.

At 85 seconds it moves its wings into place.

At 100 seconds you can see pigment pulse through the cicadas mesonotum:

meso

Here’s another video from last night:

July 25, 2016

Annual Cicada Hunt in Manchester, New Jersey

Filed under: Elias Bonaros | Neotibicen — Tags: , — Dan @ 8:34 pm

Neotibicen auletes

Since 2013 I’ve met Elias Bonaros and Annette DeGiovine in Manchester, New Jersey to search for the cicada Neotibicen auletes. It has become an annual tradition.

M. auletes is the largest cicada in the Americas, they have a particularly arresting call, and are a beautiful lime green when recently molted. They are definitely worth taking the time to find.

Locating and observing cicadas in northern States can be particularly vexing because they are far less abundant, and much of their habitat has been eliminated to make way for the ever-growing, densely-packed human population. It is a treat any time we can find and observe a living cicada specimen up-close. If you’re the type who likes to travel to observe cicadas, New Jersey is not a great place to start on the east coast. Southern states, starting at North Carolina to Florida are your best bets, in terms of species diversity and abundance. If you’re a collector, be aware of local laws — for instance, collecting in Florida is completely forbidden.

This year’s adventure began around 7:15pm when I arrived at the mini-mall where Caballero’s Pizzeria is located (Manchester, NJ on Route 70). Part of the tradition is to have a few slices of pizza, and after four years the owner knows who we are. The mini-mall the pizzeria is located in is bordered on the right by a sandy-soil pine & oak forest, and in front by two small groves of tall oaks & pines. Oddly, the ground of these groves has been covered with a back mesh tarp, which completely prevents underbrush growth. This doesn’t seem to deter cicadas from emerging, but I’m skeptical that future generations of cicadas will find the smaller plant roots they need during the early stages of life.

At 7:15pm the small and beautiful Neocicada hieroglyphica cicadas were singing from many trees in groves and forest (they would continue singing to around 9pm, well past sunset). Around 7:30pm Neotibicen linnei began to join them.

Elias and Annette arrived shortly before sunset, around 8pm, giving them time and daylight to scout the grounds for deceased adult specimens and exuvia (molted skins); oddly none were found. Neotibicen auletes calls at dusk, right after sunset. On queue multiple N. auletes began calling from the trees in the groves and forest, like a soloist overpowering the lesser vocalists and instruments around him, N. auletes are the divas of the New Jersey cicada opera.

Elias photographing an auletes:
Elias Bonaros

Teneral Neotibicen auletes 3

Teneral Neotibicen auletes 4

Teneral Neotibicen auletes

No exuvia or dead N. auletes was found, but the many calls we heard were encouraging. Once night fell we began to search the local area for emerging nymphs and molting adults. After a long search Elias found a single female auletes molting on the side of a school. Three hours of searching only yeilded one cicada — for those who have experienced periodical cicada emergences, or those who live in areas with an abundance of annual species, a lone cicada would be very disappointing. For Elias, Annette and I, finding a lone (locally) rare cicada, was not disappointing at all.

The funniest moment of the night came when a local policeman asked us if we were hunting Pokemon! Of course we were not — we were hunting cicadas. A little harder to explain, and probably more fun.

Video from the trip:

Previous Manchester NJ auletes adventures:

April 13, 2016

Neotibicen lyricen virescens Davis, 1935 aka Costal Lyric Cicada

Filed under: Cryptotympanini | Neotibicen | United States | William T. Davis — Tags: — Dan @ 5:14 pm

Neotibicen lyricen virescens Davis, 1935

Song type: Call


Source: ©Insect Singers | Species: N. lyricen virescens

Name, Location and Description

Classification:

Family: Cicadidae
Subfamily: Cicadinae
Tribe: Cryptotympanini
Subtribe: Cryptotympanina
Genus: Neotibicen
Species: Neotibicen lyricen
Sub-species: Neotibicen lyricen virescens Davis, 1935
Sub-species: Neotibicen lyricen lyricen (De Geer, 1773)
Sub-species: Neotibicen lyricen engelhardti (Davis, 1910)

List of sources

  1. Full Binomial Names: ITIS.gov
  2. Common names: BugGuide.net; The Songs of Insects by Lang Elliott and Wil Herschberger; personal memory.
  3. Locations: Biogeography of the Cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) of North America, North of Mexico by Allen F. Sanborn and Polly K. Phillips.
  4. Descriptions, Colors: personal observations from specimens or photos from many sources. Descriptions are not perfect, but may be helpful.

Notes:

  • Some descriptions are based on aged specimens which have lost some or a lot of their color.

Neotibicen robinsonianus Davis, 1922 aka Robinson’s Annual Cicada or Robinson’s Cicada

Filed under: Cryptotympanini | Neotibicen | United States | William T. Davis — Tags: — Dan @ 5:04 pm

Neotibicen robinsonianus Davis, 1922 aka Robinson’s Annual Cicada or Robinson’s Cicada

Song type: Call


Source: ©Insect Singers | Species: N. robinsonianus

Name, Location and Description

Classification:

Family: Cicadidae
Subfamily: Cicadinae
Tribe: Cryptotympanini
Subtribe: Cryptotympanina
Genus: Neotibicen
Species: Neotibicen robinsonianus Davis, 1922

List of sources

  1. Full Binomial Names: ITIS.gov
  2. Common names: BugGuide.net; The Songs of Insects by Lang Elliott and Wil Herschberger; personal memory.
  3. Locations: Biogeography of the Cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) of North America, North of Mexico by Allen F. Sanborn and Polly K. Phillips.
  4. Descriptions, Colors: personal observations from specimens or photos from many sources. Descriptions are not perfect, but may be helpful.

Notes:

  • Some descriptions are based on aged specimens which have lost some or a lot of their color.

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