I had some free time today so a made a video of the cicada-related objects I’ve collected over the past 15 or so years. The video includes cicada noise makers, whistles, action figures, a music comp, a kite, cicada soda, rubber toys, fishing lures and other fun stuff.
October 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
The Brood XIX (and Brood IV stragglers) are all but gone, but annual species of cicadas are emerging around the United States right now. The various annual species of cicadas differ from periodical cicadas in many ways. Annual cicadas emerge in limited numbers every year, they are not organized into broods, they tend to be timid and camouflaged to match their environment, and while their life cycles are longer than a year, they are not as long as 13 or 17 years.
The most common annual cicada east of the Rockies is probably the various species of the Tibicen genus. There are also cicadas belonging to the Diceroprocta, Neocicada, and Okanagana genera out and about now.
Use the Insect Singers website to help match the species to their song.
May 22, 2011
The White-eyed cicada contest is complete!
I had ten “I Love Cicada” pins sitting in a bag in my office. Ten people found a white-eyed cicada, sent me a photo and won “I Love Cicadas pins”!
Here’s the prize pins:
May 9, 2011
Most of the periodical cicadas you’ll see have red or reddish-orange eyes. A very small number, however, have white, blue, or yellow eyes. Some even have amazing multi-colored eyes. Have you seen any white eyed periodical cicadas yet? Be on the lookout for them, and make sure you take a photo or video when you see one. Have a contest with your friends and family to see who can find the first white or blue-eyed cicada. If you have a TV station, radio show or a local website, you could have a contest for who can find the first white eyed cicada. I personally have only found one white eyed cicada (video below), so I have to guess that the odds are at least one in 10,000.
Here’s a photo of a white eyed Magicicada cicada Roy Troutman found back in 2004:
Roy took a photo of a blue-eyed cicada, and I made a t-shirt from the image (I use the mug version for my morning coffee).
This is a video of white eyed cicada I recorded back in 2007:
May 5, 2011
Update (5/2011): I finally found one of these keychains, but I’m going to keep looking for more. Plus we have, Cicada Keychain Parts, Packaging scans from Ben, Packages and images found by Roy, and a scan from an Archie McPhee catalog from Suzanne M.
Once or twice a year someone e-mails Cicada Mania asking if we know where to
find the cicada keychain — you know, “the one that buzzes”. Although there
are many keychains which feature
cicadas (e.g. trapped in amber),
I’ve never found the cicada keychain online.
I haven’t found these in stores since Clinton was in office. Back in the day,
you could find them in mall stores like “The Nature Company”, “The Science Nook”
and “The Planet Store”. Once, in the late 90’s I asked the manager of one of these
stores about the these
keychains and she said: “we don’t carry them any more, the last batch was defective”.
She seemed angry that I even asked her about them. I wish I knew more. Maybe these
stores lost so much money because of these defective key chains that they all went
out of business? Or maybe they didn’t sell enough whale song CDs, glow-in-the-dark
moon stickers, or mystical crystals to pay the rent?
I’ve spent way too much time looking for these keychain online, and I’ve
pretty much given up hope.
- I’ve searched numerous online stores that specialize in novelties and keychains.
- I’ve e-mailed these stores requesting that they stock these keychains — but I get no response.
- I’ve searched ebay.
- I’ve spend hours doing Google searches.
There are two problems with searching for stuff like this online:
- Search engines have a hard time indexing online stores (for technical reasons
I won’t waste your time with), and…
- Who knows how people would describe these things?
Are they keychains, key chains, keyrings, or key rings? Are they cicadas, locusts,
insects or bugs? Do they buzz, chirp, scream, or beep?
While searching for cicada keychain:
one is hidden as a prize in a “Geocaching” scavenger hunt.
- The wrong cicada
- Here’s a story that mentions
the cicada keychain.
Online stores I’ve searched include:
Update: I recently tried to get the CEO of Archie McPhee to reintroduce this product:
@cicadamania As we are synced with Nature as well, we can only offer the singing cicada keyring every 17 years.
— Mark Pahlow (@mcpheeceo) May 13, 2014
April 24, 2011
There are many interesting aspects of a periodical cicada emergence, including the length of time they spend underground, their massive numbers, their visual appearance, their amazing songs, and the variety of reactions people have to the cicadas. One of most amazing things you can witness during a cicada emergence is to watch cicadas emerge from the earth as nymphs, crawl up a tree, shed their skins, spread their wings and become adults.
Periodical cicadas will typically emerge over a period of several days. If you discover that cicadas have emerged in your yard by finding their skins (exuvia) or adult cicadas, chances are good more cicadas will emerge later that night. Filming a night-time cicada emergence is an excellent opportunity to use your HD Camcorders, Macro camera settings, and other technology you normally don’t get to use.
Here’s a guide to finding cicadas at night and ideas for filming them:
- Be prepared: Get your flashlights ready. Read the manual for your camera to learn about its night time settings, HD settings, Macro settings, etc. Make sure your camera is charged.
- Once the sun sets, head outside with your flashlight and camera. Carefully walk around beneath the branches of trees, shining your flashlight towards the ground. Cicada nymphs live along the entire root system of a tree, so they can emerge 15 or more feet away from the trunk. Watch this video of cicada nymphs to see what to look for. Listen: you can actually hear them walk through the grass and up the bark of a tree.
- Once you’ve spotted nymphs, you can start filming. I usually aim my flashlight at them, and then let the flash in my camera light them up for the photo.
- Once a nymph crawls up the tree, and finds a part of the tree that it likes, it will emerge from its skin and become an adult. The process of completely becoming an adult takes several hours, so this is a good opportunity to make a time-lapse movie.
Here is a series of stills from a movie Roy Troutman made of an eclosing Magicicada:
Step 1: The nymph grabs hold of a leaf
Nymphs will crawl around until they find a place to grab hold of with their tiny tarsal claws. Usually, they find part of a tree branch or leaf. Sometimes they find a car tire, a brick wall or a barbecue.
Step 2: The back of the cicada splits open, and the cicada pushes itself out.
The skin of the nymph splits open along the middle of its back, all the way up to its head. The cicada then pushes itself out back-first. You’ll notice that the cicada is white in color with two black spots on its back. At this point the cicada’s body is very soft — until a cicada’s body has hardened, we call them teneral, which means soft or tender in Latin.
Step 3: With its abdomen anchored in the nymph skin, the cicada curls back, freeing its legs and spiracles.
The spiracles are the holes through which the cicada breathes. You’ll notice fine white strands connected to the nymph skin — those were once connected to the spiracles.
Step 4: The cicada curls forward, grabs hold of its former skin, and frees its abdomen
Step 5: The cicada crawls away from its old skin and prepares to inflate its wings
Step 6: The cicadas wings fill with fluid and expand
The cicada inflates its wings using haemolymph, a blood-like fluid also used to transport nutrients in a cicada’s body.
Now, watch the entire video:
Step 7: The color of the cicada darkens and its body hardens
Once the cicada has expanded its wings, the cicadas will turn their final color and their bodies and wings will harden. Once the body and wings are sufficiently hardened, they are able to fly and sing.
The “finished product” looks like this:
I hope you have the opportunity to watch a nighttime cicada emergence! It can be a lot of fun.
March 10, 2011
A few more mystery cicadas from Jairo from the Cigarras do Brasil — Brazilian Cicadas website. These cicadas are from Brazil. This time with videos featuring their song.
“Now i’m sending you a video of a strange cicada song, very highly pitched, and two blurry photos of it. Sorry i couldn’t take better pictures (they’re very small and hard to catch), but i hope it can help you.
As far as i could see, this cicada seems to belong to the genus Taphura. I saw some cicadas of this genus and it really loks like them (if only the pictures showed that…). They have a green head and mesonotum, but the abdomen has a different color, probably beige or brown. Their belly seem to be white, with beige legs. Their song starts with clicks from a male, then another male responds to it, and then all males in the place sing together a very fast buzz. Probably i recorded here their “alarm call”, to warn the others about the presence of a stranger, ’cause their song was very erratic.”
Images of this cicada (yeah, they’re not the best quality):
“This one really gets me intrigued! Never saw the cicada (that’s why i don’t have pics), but i’ve heard it a lot! Very low sound, this song is a succession of short calls (ki-ki-ki-ki). Males singing together seem to be duelling. All i can say is it seems to be from genus Dorisiana, but without pictures i cannot prove this.
This one is really a challenge.”
“I made this recording in October 5th 2010 (spring), and you can hear the second part of a cicada song (i couldn’t record the first part). The song starts with a slow sequence of short calls (ki-ki-ki), and then it accelerates and becomes a fast sequence of zizizi sounds. People will say that it sounds like Fidicina mannifera or F. torresi, but i know these two species enough to say that it wasn’t any of them, along with the fact that they don’t sing in trees as high as the one in the footage. Could it be Majeorona aper??? They appear in springtime, and i don’t know their song!”
December 31, 2010
Q is for Quesada gigas. The Quesada gigas, aka Giant Cicada, is a giant cicada with giant range, spanning South, Central and North America, reaching as far north as Texas. Read more about the Quesada gigas.
Video of a Quesada gigas song:
May 24, 2010
Joe Green reported that the Diceroprocta olympusa have started calling in Southwest Florida (Lehigh Acres).
Here’s some video featuring their song:
D. olympusa cicada stops when approached in Lehigh by Joe Green
D. olympusa chorus from cage by Joe Green
D. olympusa pre ticks before calling by Joe Green
May 11, 2010
Update: Brood XIX straggler photos by Lenny Lampel.
Here’s a treat. Lenny Lampel, Natural Resources Coordinator for Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Conservation Science Office in Charlotte, NC, uploaded these videos that feature the calls of Magicicada tredecassini to YouTube.
A small chorus of one year early Magicicada tredecassini stragglers of Brood XIX calling from the Lower McAlpine Greenway in Charlotte, North Carolina on May 10, 2010.
One year early Magicicada tredecassini stragglers of Brood XIX calling from the Lower McAlpine Greenway in Charlotte, North Carolina on May 10, 2010.