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June 15, 2013

Oklahoma surprise periodical cicada emergence!

Filed under: Brood II | Magicicada | Periodical — Dan @ 5:13 am

Periodical cicadas (Magicicada) are emerging in and around the Oklahoma City area, unexpectedly!

OK map

June 15th:

The Facebook page for this event posted that there are Oklahoma State University records of going back to 1996, 1979, 1962, and 1928, showing a 17 year pattern. There’s also some confusion between this “micro brood” [a term I’m using because I like beer] and Brood IV, because the Oklahoma M. cassini have orange stripes like an M. septendecula, and you can only tell them apart by their DNA (and their song, of course).

Cicadas @ UCONN had a Facebook update as well.

June 13th:

Chris Simon says they “think that this might be an undiscovered brood that just happens to coincide with Brood II.”

Gene Kristsky found a page that mentioned Brood II in OK, and Chris Simon pointed out that the cicadas fill a gap in Brood IV.

Thanks to T. Wilken for posting this image. it is a male M. cassini.

I checked the document Drew, W. A., F. L. Spangler and D. Molnar. 1974. Oklahoma Cicadidae (Homoptera). Proceedings of the Oklahoma Academy of Science. Stillwater. 54: 90-7. No specific mention of Oklahoma county.

Original post:

There is an Oklahoma 17 Year Cicada Early Emergence Facebook page. (They might be 13 year cicadas, BTW).

If you are in Oklahoma please visit Cicadas @ UCONN and report your sighting! View the sightings on the map.

Random conjecture:

  • They could be Brood IV, which are due to emerge in 2015, making this a two year acceleration that brood. This could also be Brood XIX, which last emerged in 2011, making this a two year deceleration.
  • They could be an undocumented emergence of Brood II.
  • But the really weird thing is, Oklahoma City is outside of the Brood IV and Brood XIX areas.
  • Did some windy weather move the cicadas westward?
  • Did a nursery in the Brood IV or XIX area inadvertently move them to OK City?
  • Did someone play cicada egg “Johnny Appleseed”?


  1. Tom Royer says:

    I returned to Stillwater on June 17 from a two-week trip and was sitting in my house, when I heard cicadas making lots of noise outside our house. I thought it was too early for annuals, so I went out to investigate and sure enough, there were several Bradford pears that were loaded with Magicidada. I was not in Stillwater in 1996. I was here in 1998, and witnessed an emergence of Brood IV much farther north of Stillwater, near Blackwell ca. 36 degrees 39.177 north X 97 degrees 27.002 W. We didn’t see an emergence in Stillwater that year. I don’t think this is a stragler of Brood IV, there was a huge emergence this year, and Brood IV isn’t due for another 2 years. I know Rick Grantham has collected a number for species identification, and I am willing to collect some as well if needed.

  2. Sarah B says:

    It’s funny that you mention the Oklahoma emergence. Last Saturday (June 15) my family and I were driving through Perkins, OK, on our way to Stillwater. We were SHOCKED at how loud the cicadas seemed in that town compared to anywhere else in OK that we’d been that day. I never realized that it could be related to the 17-year emergence!

  3. Gail Zawacki says:

    I did write them, over a week ago. I haven’t had an answer yet, so I thought perhaps you might have some information or know how to obtain it. I couldn’t find anything current at the database at their website:

    What’s your impression as to numbers? Have there been as many as you expected, or more, or less?

    1. Dan says:

      It’s difficult to say. Folks like John Cooley, Chris Simon and Jin Yoshimura are gathering the signing information, and it literally takes months to make a determination. Thousands of locations, descriptions and actual specimens will be examined and tabulated. I would expect a paper by the end of the year, early next year.

      I don’t want to discuss this topic further on this thread because the post is specifically about Oklahoma.

  4. Gail Zawacki says:

    Well no, Dan, I wasn’t expecting anything that precise.

    According to this article,

    there are attempts to quantify. So, here again is specifically what I asked for:

    Is anyone tracking how many cicadas total (estimated obviously) compared to past emergence and to what was expected?

    If you could provide any link I’d appreciate it.

    1. Dan says:

      Yes. Of course they are. Contact the people mentioned in the article.

  5. Gail Zawacki says:

    Hi Dan! I’ve been looking for estimates of this year’s population with no luck. Is anyone tracking how many cicadas total (estimated obviously) compared to past emergence and to what was expected?? I’m concerned because so many trees are dying, especially with rotting roots, wondering if cicadas would have had enough food the past 17 years.

    If you could provide any link I’d appreciate it. I’ve seen various maps with places of sightings but not any numbers attached (and I haven’t seen a single cicada! Only heard a few for a couple of days, two weeks ago).

    Thanks so much,

    Oldwick, NJ

    1. Dan says:

      What are you looking for? A number like 5,123,555,333?

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