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November 21, 2013

A Cicada Attacked by Bull Ants

Filed under: Video — Dan @ 6:21 am

Poor, poor cicada — never had a chance. Here’s a video of bull ants attacking a molting cicada:

via Twitter

October 12, 2013

A third way cicadas make sounds

Filed under: Anatomy | Australia | Cyclochila | Sounds | Video — Dan @ 8:06 am

Cicadas are well known for the songs male cicadas make with their their tymbals, which are drum-like organs found in their abdomens.

Some female cicadas will also flick their wings to get the males attention. Watch this video where a male Magicicada is convinced that the snapping of fingers is a wing flick. Note: Magicicada males will also flick their wings once they become infected with the Massospora cicadina fungus (which removes their sex organs).

There is a third way some cicadas can make sounds. This method of creating a sound is unique to the Australian species Cyclochila australasiae (aka the Green Grocer and Masked Devil). These cicadas have stridulatory ridges on their pronotal collars (the collar shaped structure at the back of their head), and a stridulatory scraper on their fore wing.

From M. S. MOULDS, 2012, A review of the genera of Australian cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadoidea). Magnolia Press Auckland, New Zealand. p84:

Cyclochila is unique among the Cicadoidea in possessing a stridulatory file on the underside of the lateral angles of the pronotal collar that interacts with a scraper on the fore wing base (Fig. 132). Rubbed together these produce low audible sound in hand-held specimens (K. Hill, pers. comm.), the purpose of which is for sexual com- munication at close quarters (J. Kentwell and B. Fryz, pers. comm.)

Here is a photo of these structures:

Structure on Green Grocer

The location of these structures is right about where the blue pin is in this photo:
Collar

Update:

Tim McNary of the Bibliography of the Cicadoidea website, let us know that Clidophleps cicadas are also able to create should using a stridulatory structure. Clidophleps is a genus of cicada that can be found in California, Nevada, Arizona, and I assume adjacent parts of Mexico. Clidophleps differs from Cyclochila in that the stridulatory structure is on its mesonotum, and not its pronotal collar.

Photo courtesy of Tim McNary:
stridatory file

October 11, 2013

A look back at the 2013 Brood II Periodical Cicada Emergence

Filed under: Brood II | Magicicada | Periodical | Video — Dan @ 10:03 pm

2013 has been an awesome year for cicadas. Here’s a look back at my favorite Brood II moments.

  1. My 17 Year Cicada sneakers:
    nikeid
  2. The They’re Baaack! Return of the 17-year Cicadas exhibit at The Staten Island Museum.
  3. Meeting Ed Johnson of the Staten Island Museum.
  4. Being interviewed by and appearing in Wired Magazine.
  5. This April Fools Day joke (that no one believed).
  6. Hipster Cicada
    hipster cicada
  7. Cicada Ron Swanson
    Cicada Ron Swanson
  8. Keep Calm, They’re only 17 Year Cicadas
    Keep Calm
  9. Getting 7,500 visits from Reddit in a single day (April 7th).
  10. Finding the first nymph on April 16th under a garden slate, not ready to emerge.
  11. Finding the first cicada chimneys on May 10th.
  12. Giving a presentation about cicadas at musician/naturalist/philosopher/professor David Rothenberg’s “Richard Robinson: Song of the Cicada (World Premiere), Insect Music, based on the calls, chirps and clicks of various insects” event in New York City.
  13. Finding and photographing Magicicada septendecula, thanks to Elias Bonaro’s keen hearing.
  14. My sister’s chihuahua discovering a cicada nymph.
    chihuahua cicada
  15. Cicada tracking in New York state.
  16. An interview with Sonja Beeker of the German radio program Neonlicht.
  17. The Oklahoma Brood II emergence. A lot of us didn’t expect it, but Oklahoma residents did. Add another state to the Brood II map!
  18. Shooting lots of cicada video for the site
  19. Observing the Magicicada cassini’s “musical chairs” calling and flying routine, captured in this photo by Roy Troutman.
  20. Having Roy and Michelle Troutman visit New Jersey (I think Michelle enjoyed the beach more than the cicadas).
  21. Going cicada hunting with Roy Troutman and Elias Bonaros
    Elias and Roy
  22. The Joy of Six Legged Sex event at the Staten Island Museum, featuring John Cooley and Ed Johnson. Roy, Michelle, Elias and David Rothenberg were also in attendance.
    John Cooley and Ed Johnson speaking at the Staten Island Museum Six Legged Sex event by Roy Troutman
  23. Going cicada hunting in Staten Island with Elias and Chris Simon.
  24. Going cicada hunting with John Cooley, David Rothenberg, and a crew from the New York Times, and ending up at my folk’s place in Metuchen.
  25. Fighting back against companies that sell pesticide to kill cicadas.
  26. Discovering that the periodical cicadas along the shore of Staten Island survived Superstorm Sandy.
  27. Meeting cicada filmmaker Sam Orr.
  28. All the reports, comments, Tweets, and cicada photos sent to us by Cicada Mania readers. You make it all worthwhile.
  29. The Finneytown, Ohio acceleration… technically not Brood II, but…
  30. All the cool cicada community science opportunities presented by magicicada.org, the Simon Lab, the Urban Buzz Project, Gene Kritsky and Radiolab.

I’m looking forward to the Brood III and XXII emergences next year, but I don’t know if they’ll be as fun as Brood II 2013.

17 year cicadas y u no?

August 9, 2013

August is a great time to look for Tibicen cicadas in North America

Filed under: Canada | Tibicen | United States | Video — Tags: — Dan @ 9:33 am

Now is a great time to look and listen for Tibicen cicadas in North America. Tibicen are the medium to large sized annual cicadas. Typically they are well camouflaged – with colors like black, white, green & brown.

During the day you can listen for them, of course, and spot them that way. Try Insect Singers for cicada songs. You can also look for their exuvia (skins), and if you’re lucky you can catch on on a low branch.

Last night I started looking around 10pm and found three Swamp Cicadas (T. tibicen tibicen) shedding their skins on trees around the yard. I also collected about 30 exuvia (skins). All in a quarter acre yard. Take a look at this video:

Swamp Cicada shedding its nymphal skin from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

Swamp Cicada

Teneral Swamp Cicada

July 30, 2013

Megatibicen auletes in Manchester, NJ

Filed under: Elias Bonaros | Megatibicen | Tibicen | Video — Tags: , — Dan @ 8:44 pm

Last night I went on an exploration of Manchester, NJ looking for Megatibicen auletes (Germar, 1834) with Elias Bonaros and his friend Annette.

M. auletes, are known as the Northern Dusk Singing Cicada. As their name suggests, M. auletes calls at dusk, around sunset. Their call is amazing – visit Insect Singers to hear their call.

Luckily I found a (deceased) female and an exuvia (nymph skin). Elias and Annette found many exuvia and a live nymph. We were able to watch the nymph undergo ecdysis (leave its exuvia, and expand its adult body).

Here are some images of the cicadas we found last night (click the first two images to get to larger versions):

Neotibicen auletes nymph

Ventral view. Neotibicen auletes female Manchester NJ

Dorsal view. Neotibicen auletes female Manchester NJ

Neotibicen auletes female Manchester NJ

Some (blurry) video:

Dan and Elias netting a M. auletes exuvia. Photo by Annette DeGiovine-Oliveira:

Dan and Elias netting a T. auletes exuvia. Photo by Annette DeGiovine-Oliveira:

June 28, 2013

The Brood II Emergence Has Begun

Filed under: Brood II | Magicicada | Periodical | Video — Dan @ 1:12 am

June 28th Update

At this point if you haven’t had a periodical cicada emerge in your yard/neighborhood/town, you won’t. The best last chance to see them would be in New York State along rte 9G, parts of 9 and 9J. The more northern, the better. I visited that area last weekend, and found some great spots.

Flagging (when leaves turn brown from cicada egg laying) can be seen in New Jersey and states south of there. Probably a little bit of Connecticut and New York as well.

People are noticing sap dripping from the scars left behind from cicada egg laying.

Next up will be the hatching of the eggs.

Don’t forget to report FLAGGING (brown leaves) sightings to Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly Magicicada.org) so they can add them to their live map. You can report flagging, as well as egg nests, and newly hatched nymphs.

As usual Cicada Mania offers a full line of shirts, glassware, buttons and other souvenirs:

June 17th Update

After visiting central New Jersey and Staten Island over the weekend it’s clear that the emergence in that area is past peak. There is less singing, plenty of ovipositing and some flagging.

Staten Island: Wolfe’s Pond Park and areas along Amboy Road still has enough cicadas to enjoy them, in Staten Island. Bloomingdale Park and High Rock Park are disappointing.

New York State along the Hudson River valley is the place to go to see them at their best. Places like High Falls & Germany Town, and as far north as Stuyvesant.

Rain spoiled a lot of the emergence (for cicada fans). Here is a funny editorial cartoon about the cicadas and frequent rain.

Enjoy some periodical cicada video I uploaded this weekend.

Some new sounds as well.

June 9th Update

We’re at the halfway point.

The 2013 Brood II emergence began somewhere between April, 23rd and May, 1st, in North Carolina and Virginia. Nymphs are still emerging along the Hudson River in NY and in Connecticut.

Here’s a nice gallery of images from Dani Siddle taken in the Malden-on-Hudson area.
Magicicada cassini in Malden on Hudson NY by Dani Siddle 2

Areas in southern states are no doubt in the clean up phase. Adults have stopped singing, and corpses litter the ground, while the eggs of the next generation are nestled in branches high up in trees.

This is what to expect here on out:

They stink — literally, not figuratively. Yeah, their rotting corpses stink, so you want to clean them up. A rake and shovel work. Some people use vacuums, which are effective, but your vacuums might inherit the smell of the cicadas.

The hatch — in about 6-8 weeks the eggs laid in tree branches will hatch and the 1st instar nymphs will fall to the ground (see “THE ECOLOGY, BEHAVIOR AND EVOLUTION OF PERIODICAL CICADAS” by Kathy S. Williams and Chris Simon). The fall doesn’t hurt them because they have a low terminal velocity. Wear a hat in August. At this point they quickly dig into the soil, and start feeding on roots — small grass roots at first, and larger roots as they get larger. Chances are you won’t even notice them. Sadly, about 98% of them die in the first two years. Just imagine if they all survived — 5000% more cicadas!

The birds will come back — birds and other critters often leave a neighborhood during a cicada emergence. Either they get their fill of eating the cicadas, they can’t hear each other over the over-powering call of the cicadas, or they find it hard to navigate the sky and trees with all the cicadas around. What ever the case, birds and other animals will return to your neighborhood once the cicadas die off. Do not worry.

June 7th Update

Some interesting news stories:

Westfield Residents Learn the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Cicadas

A podcast with David Rothenberg and John Cooley.

An Invasion of 17-Year-Olds, Loud, Lusty and Six-Legged

June 6th Update

It’s been nearly 2 weeks since my last update, but I’ve been busy — traveling around looking and listening for cicadas. I have literally 100s of photos and videos, and information to update the site with. Lots of info to come.

Ladies: check out these cicada-themed finger nails!

Road-tripers: East Coast Cicadas: (Road Side) Attractions They Couldn’t See In 1996.

Status of the emergence:
– Cicadas in North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland should be post-peak. Singing, mating, laying eggs, but mostly dying. New Jersey is at it’s peak — mostly singing, mating and laying eggs. Pensy, Staten Island and the rest of New York have cicadas in all phases, but they should still have some emerging nymphs to check out. If you want to watch nymphs emerging at this point, Connecticut is the place to go.

Locations I’ve visited and heard or saw cicadas:
New Jersey: Metuchen, Edison, Iselin, Colonia, Woodbridge, Westfield, Fanwood, Summit, Scotch Plains, Clark, Watchung…
Staten Island: most parks in southern SI, like Wolfe’s Pong Park (the cicadas survived Sandy) and Bloomingdale Park. Lots along Drumgoole road.

Locations other people reported:
– Meriden, CT

– Berkeley Heights NJ
– Flat Rock Brood Nature Center www.flatrockbrook.org in NJ
– Lewis Morris Park, Convent Station, Madison and Morris Township in NJ
– Maplewood in Essex County, NJ
– Millburn, NJ (South Mountain Reservation)
– Mountainside, NJ
– Plainfield, NJ
– Upper Montclair, NJ
– West Milford, NJ

– Cornwall-On Hudson, NY
– Red Hook, NY

– Glen Allen, VA
– Manassas Battlefield Park in VA
– Woodbridge VA

See the live map for the lastest 500 locations reported to Magiciada.org.

Where they’re not (sorry):
– DC (they’re south west of DC).
– Most counties in New Jersey south of Middlesex (with some exceptions).
– Most of Pensy

May 24th Update

Cold days ahead until Tuesday for the Brood II cicadas, at least in the northern states. Temperatures below 57 F/14 C will put the insects into a state of torpor, making them easy prey for critters. The rain and wind doesn’t help either. Read: “Adaptation of the Thermal Responses of Insects” by James E. Heath; James L. Hanegan; Peter J. Wilkin; Maxine Shoemaker Heath.

Some positive news: Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly Magicicada.org) has declared a pocket of Brood II in Georgia. Time to update the brood charts!

May 23rd Update

Oh Hai!

I heard chorusing for the first time in Metuchen, NJ today.

+ Berkeley Heights, NJ (thx Lucinda)
+ Finneytown Ohio (thx Roy) (technically not Brood II)

A video of a cicada undergoing ecdysis (emerging from its nymphal skin (exuvia)), from Rachel in Charlottesville, Va:

A video of The New Jersey Cicada Takeover in Summit NJ from Jason:

Here’s an adult cicada in Westfield NJ:

Update for May 22nd

+ Upper Montclair NJ (thx Eryn)

Today I found a white eyed male Magicicada septendecim in Metuchen NJ. Here is a video. White eyed periodical cicadas are relatively rare.

Update for May 21st

The cicadas are chorusing in Charlottesville VA. Here’s a video of their chorus. (thx Rachel)

According to Henryk J. Behnke of the Staten Island Museum: “Finally, the temperature is right and the first, small groups of hundreds of 17-year cicadas are emerging on Staten Island’s South Shore.”

Jason sent us this YouTube video of teneral (soft, white, newly emerged) adults in Summit NJ:

And this video of adult cicadas:

Update for May 19th

More locations:
Guilford, CT (thx Justin)
Chase City and Farmville, VA (thx Nathan)
Manassas, VA (thx Camillia)
Summit, NJ (see a video of a lone nymph crawling around):

See where cicada researchers Satoshi Kakishima and Jin Yoshimura have located cicadas: https://cicadas.uconn.edu.

Update for May 18th

Cicadas are starting to emerge throughout New Jersey. Westfield, Iselin and Metuchen are visually confirmed. I will assume that they have started to emerge in Staten Island as well because of the relative proximity of Staten Island and Jersey.

Cicadas have started chorusing in North Garden, VA.

Visual confirmation of the emergence in:
Westfield, NJ
Metuchen, NJ
Iselin, NJ
Fredricksburg, VA
Lake Ridge, VA
Yadkin County, NC

Some new galleries of photos:

Update (5/16):

Jim Reported in with photos of an adult cicada in Westfield NJ! the first NJ sighting I’ve seen.

The emergence in Virginia continues to be strong.

Louisa County VA
Rhoadesville VA (Orange County)
Springfield VA

Update (5/15): Randy from Rhoadsville VA said “Today was 85 and its still 74 at 11PM. WOW! The emergence is incredible. There are nymphs everywhere and in various stages from molting”.

On the Facebook Cicada Mania page, Clarla said “The wooded areas around my house are “boiling” and you can hear the larvae digging their way out. LOTS of molting nymphs all over my entrance”.

Update (5/14): cicadas have emerged in many locations in Virgina, including:

Brentsville, VA
Calvert County, VA
Charlottesville, VA
Doylesville, VA
Kinderhook, VA
Martinsville, VA
Stafford County, VA
Stanardsville, VA

A gallery of Brood II cicadas on Flickr!

Update (5/9): cicadas have emerged in North Carolina, Virgina (see a photo) and Maryland (read a tweet) so far. Nymphs are active in New Jersey according to Magicicada and my sister’s chihuahua:

chihuahua cicada

Update (5/2): cicadas have emerged in Guilford County and Stokes County North Carolina.

May 1st:

Over on the Entomology-Cicadidae cicada group a gentleman named Tommy Joseph has posted photos of periodical cicadas which have emerged this week in Greensboro, North Carolina This makes sense as North Carolina is the southern-most state with a Brood II population, and southern states warm up before northern states.

There are also plenty of sightings (mostly nymphs, but some adults) on the Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly Magicicada.org) map. Don’t forget to post your sighting there.

Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly Magicicada.org)

The emergence will proceed slowly at first, starting with the southern-most states.

And something amusing for the kids:

17 year cicadas y u no?

Of course it wouldn’t be as special if they did emerge every year.

June 23, 2013

New York is still loaded with cicadas

Filed under: Brood II | Magicicada | Periodical | Video — Tags: , — Dan @ 7:51 pm

New York cicadas If you want to see and hear the Brood II cicadas, play hookey this week, and head on up the Hudson Valley in New York State. DO IT! It’s your last chance until 2030 (unless you want to see Brood III and XXII next year).

Today I took an eight-hour road trip along the Hudson River in NY. I hit Palisades Interstate Park, Bear Mountain, Cold Springs, virtually every town along Rte 9G and 199, Germantown, Hudson, and Woodstock.

Cold Spring and Woodstock were a little disappointing, though their downtowns seemed like nice places to visit (no time for human fun when you’re tracking cicadas). The east side of the Hudson River was definitely more active than the west side, although I did hear cicada choruses along Interstate 87 between exit 18 and 16.

Here are my favorite locations. The first one is pure gold.

Rt 199
A rest stop for cars.
Rhinebeck NY 12572
41.972693,-73.915277
Loads of ‘decims and cassini. Cassini could be picked off the low lying trees like grapes. ‘Decims hugged trees by the 100’s. Best spot of the day.

130 Main street by the river.
Germantown, NY 12526
42.134975,-73.897069
Cassini and decim choruses. Decims and cassini on low vegetation.

400 New York 308
Rhinebeck, NY 12572
41.938882,-73.88215
Cassini and decim choruses. Decims in low lying trees.

Dutchess Mall, ironically near a big box hardware store that will remain nameless
Fishkill, NY
41.515125,-73.892328
Cassini and ‘decim choruses. ‘Decims in low lying trees. Very active and feisty.

Tiorati Brook Rd
Stony Point, NY 10980
41.252589,-74.055829
‘Decim choruses. ‘Decims in low lying trees.


Some video and audio from the New York emergence:

Periodical cicadas at a rest stop in Rhinebeck NY:

Magicicada septendecim in Stony Point NY:

Magicicada cassini Court II and III NY Brood II 2013:

June 11, 2013

Cicada Video of the Week

Filed under: Brood II | Magicicada | Ovipositing | Periodical | Video — Tags: — Dan @ 4:18 am

Here’s some cicada video I shot over the weekend. Enjoy:

Magicicada trying to take a drink from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

Singing Magicicada septendecim from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

Magicicada septendecim ovipositing from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

Magicicada septendecim ovipositing from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

Close up of a tymbal of a Magicicada septendecim from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

June 8, 2013

Brood II Cicada Video from 2013

Filed under: Brood II | Magicicada | Periodical | Sounds | Video — Tags: , , — Dan @ 6:21 am

Enjoy these videos of the Brood II Magicicada emergence from 2013.

Magicicada septendecim ovipositing

Magicicada septendecim ovipositing.

Periodical Cicadas in Merrill Park in Colonia NJ

Periodical Cicadas in Merrill Park in Colonia NJ.

Either a Magicicada cassini or septendecula

Either a Magicicada cassini or septendecula.

A calling Magicicada septendecim

A calling Magicicada septendecim.

June 6, 2013

How loud/noisy (in decibels) do periodical cicadas get?

Filed under: Brood II | Elias Bonaros | FAQs | Magicicada | Periodical | Roy Troutman | Sounds | Video — Tags: , — Dan @ 5:17 am

Last Thursday Roy Troutman, Elias Bonaros and I traveled around central New Jersey, looking for cicadas. They were not hard to find. Elias found a location in Colonia that had a particularly loud Magicicada cassini chorusing center. Using my camera and Extech 407730 40-to-130-Decibel Digital Sound Level Meter, I recorded the calls of these cicadas and how loud they can get. The quality of the video isn’t the best because it’s a camera, not a video camera, but it is good enough.

Magicicada cassini chorusing center peaking at 85db (on Vimeo):

Magicicada cassini chorusing center peaking at 85db from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

Elias and Roy used finger snaps, mimicking the wing snaps of female cicadas, to trick the males into singing:

Magicicada cassini responding to fingersnaps (on Vimeo):

Magicicada cassini responding to fingersnaps from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

We placed the M. cassini directly on the microphone and got calls as high as 109 decibels, in this video:

Magicicada cassini calling at 109db in Colonia NJ from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

There were a few M. septendecim in the area as well. A Magicicada septendecim goes from a Court II to Court III call as soon as it crawls on the decibel meter, in this video.

Magicicada septendecim court 3 from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

The cicada choruses in Central New Jersey have no doubt gotten louder since last week. Hopefully, on Sunday I’ll get back out to Central Jersey or Staten Island and make some recordings.

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