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June 19, 2024

How rare are Magicicada cicadas with white or blue eyes?

Filed under: Eye Color | Magicicada — Dan @ 3:49 pm

White eyed male Magicicada septendecim Metuchen NJ 2

How rare are Magicicadas cicadas with white or blue eyes?
Do we include yellowish-white/cream-colored eyes? Gray eyes?

“One in a million!”
“One in 100,000?”
“One in 1000”?

Let’s look at some data. Since its beginning, as of June 19th, 2024, iNaturalist has had 27,294 Research Grade Magicicada sightings, and 136 Research Grade “Magicicada eye color=blue/white” cicadas. So, in the iNaturalist data set, one in 201 Magicicada have white or blue eyes.

The number of white/blue eyed Magicicada is without a doubt more than one in 201, but not one in a million. Personally, I’ve found at least one cicada with white or blue eyes per emergence. My guess is the number is closer to one in 10,000.

But don’t tell anyone who is excited about a one in a million find. Let them have their fun and happiness. 🙂

More articles about eye color.

2 Comments »

  1. I did a similar study recently where I counted the number of cicadas in each iNaturalist observation and ended up with a pale-eyed ratio closer to 1 in 600 (since most community science observations of periodical cicadas show multiple individuals). I’m sure there’s still bias in that measurement, but it’s hard to quantify precision without a more structured experiment (i.e. recording the coloration of every cicada along a given transect in the field).

    I wonder whether the pale eye coloration is caused a specific recessive gene… It’s strange how it shows up across several different Magicicada species!

  2. Miriam Kellerhouse says:

    The blue Eyed cicadas are so unique. I live in New York, and I wish I could see one in person. Cicadas are my all time favorite insect.

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