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June 26, 2013

Help the Simon Cicada Lab study periodical cicada nymphs

Filed under: Community Science | Magicicada | Nymphs | Periodical — Dan @ 9:20 pm

The Simon Lab is dedicated to the study of cicadas, in particular, periodical cicadas.

One of the things they study is the development of cicada nymphs while they are underground.

They need your help to collect cicada nymph specimens. You would dig for them, and if you find them, mail them to the Simon Lab. The nymphs will be used for valuable scientific study, so the loss of a few from your yard will not be in vain.

If you are interested in participating in cicada nymph research, visit The Simon Lab Nymph Tracking Project page for more information. You must have had periodical cicadas on your property in past 13 or 17 years to find the nymphs — not including the Brood II area, since those nymphs came out of the ground this year.

Cicada Nymphs


  1. barbara lindemann says:

    Ok thanks. That’s good to know. Question: how deep underground are they? Or is that something they’re trying to find out? How big will the nymphs be by next summer? Here’s an ongoing science project for schools, scouts, 4-H, homeschoolers, or backyard scientists! I will spread the word at my school in Sept, even tho here in long island ny we have only the annual cicadas, as far as I know. Can they tell from the nymphs what species it is? If I dig one up, shall I send it in, or only from known brood II locations? A project for next summer in nj!

    1. Dan says:

      About the length of the shovel head to a foot.

  2. Dan says:

    Well, this year the nymphs will be too small to collect. They want nymphs older than a year. This study will be ongoing though, so if folks in the Brood II area remember, they can contribute in future years.

  3. barbara lindemann says:

    if you really want a lot of nymphs to study , wouldn’t it also make sense to involve people who have just had a mass emergence , since they would know to start digging in the area where they found lots of adults ? when do the nymphs begin to hatch , how far underground are they found , and I assume that they would be around the base of trees that have a lot of exoskeletons? it should be a fascinating science project for schools and scouts and homfor the next 17 years eschoolers for the next 17 years !!! my brother and his daughter lives in Scotch Plains , New Jersey and cicadas were all over the place . if you want to get a lot of good data for this study , my suggestion is to include brood two areas, and have people send you nymphs for the next 17 years …

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