Cicada Mania

Dedicated to cicadas, the most amazing insects in the world.

November 19, 2014

Which fungus attacks Magicicadas? Massospora cicadina

Filed under: FAQs | Magicicada | Massospora — Dan @ 8:32 pm

The fungus Massospora cicadina preys on Magicicadas cicadas. This is particularly interesting because the fungus is able to prey upon them in spite of their long 17 year life cycle (apparently fungi are not phased by prime numbers).

When the fungus destroys the abdomen of male cicadas, they will behave like female cicadas and flick their wings in response to the songs of male cicadas, and attempt to mate with other males.

A photo by Roy Troutman from Brood XIV (2008):

Magicicada with Massospora. Roy Troutman. Brood XIV.

Two photos by Dan Mozgai from Brood II (2013):

Male Magicicada septendecim infected with Massospora cicadina fungus

Magicicada septendecim with Massosporan fungus found at the Edison Memorial Tower Park in Edison NJ

Magicicada fungus (massospora cicadina)

magicicada fungus (massospora cicadina) from Roy Troutman on Vimeo.

New from 2017: the Massospora cicadina viewed under a microscope.

Magicicada cassini calls, chorusing & responses to finger snaps

Filed under: Brood II | Magicicada | Periodical | Sounds | Video — Tags: — Dan @ 8:00 am

During the Brood II emergence in 2013, Elias Bonaros, Roy Troutman and I spent some time experimenting with coercing male Magicicada to call in response to finger snaps, which mimic the snap of a female cicada’s wings. This trick works fairly well with Magicicada, and can quickly be mastered once you work out the timing. Fingers, wall switches, and the zoom button on my Sony video camera do a good job at mimicking the snap of a females wings.

Magicicada cassini responding to fingersnaps

Magicicada cassini responding to fingersnaps from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

I also recorded their calls in terms of decibels to see just how loud they could get. They can get very loud, but not as loud as a rock concert (see this db chart).

Magicicada cassini calling at 109db in Colonia NJ

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

Magicicada cassini chorusing center peaking at 85db

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

Video of Magicicada septendecula from Brood II

Filed under: Brood II | Magicicada | Ovipositing | Periodical | Video — Tags: — Dan @ 7:45 am

Here are two videos of Magicicada septendecula from Brood II.

Female Magicicada septendecula

Magicicada septendecula from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

A female Magicicada septendecula ovipositing

A female Magicicada septendecula ovipositing from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

November 16, 2014

Where can I buy cicadas online?

Filed under: FAQs | Websites — Dan @ 4:28 am

People ask, where can I buy cicadas online?

There are a lot of places, but here are my favorites:

  • Ebay.com. eBay is a good place to find cicada specimens, particularly if you are just starting your collection. Colorful Asian species dominate the species for sale, but you will usually find American species during or after a periodical cicada emergence (when those are plentiful). Most specimens you’ll find on eBay are mounted, but you can find unmounted specimens as well.
  • God of Insects. The God of Insects site has been around for a long time. You’ll find mostly Asian species, which are the most collectible because of their beauty.
  • BioQuipBugs. BioQuipBugs has a wide variety of species from a Africa, Asia, North and South America. Their prices are inexpensive. The specimens are also unmounted.
  • Search around the web. You might find other shops and different varieties of cicadas not found on the sites mentioned above.

    Keep in mind that some species might be over-collected to the point where it could endanger a species. I recommend, for that reason, that people limit their collections and not become too obsessed, as one might who collects toys or comic books.

November 12, 2014

New Zealand cicada season

Filed under: New Zealand | Websites — Dan @ 11:25 am

Cicada season in New Zealand begins in November and lasts throughout their Summer months.

The species Maoricicada hamiltoni (Myers, 1926) aka Hamilton’s Cicada, in particular, emerges in November. M. hamiltoni is known for its abundant hair-like setulae (see an image on this page).

Here is a list of the best New Zealand cicada links:

  1. New Zealand Cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadidae): A virtual identification guide (landcareresearch.co.nz) A wonderful web site. Includes a visual identification guide, checklist, and image gallery. Photos of dozens of species.
  2. Suzy’s World Cicada page (suzy.co.nz) Fun, kid-friendly presentation of cicada information.
  3. Introducing cicadas (teara.govt.nz) Photos, sounds and 4 paragraphs of information.
  4. New Zealand cicadas (troutbum.co.nz)
    Large photos of Kikihia and Amphipsalta.
  5. Here is a nice article about the cicada Sounds of a Kiwi summer.
  6. A Flickr gallery of New Zealand Cicadas

October 5, 2014

What is the loudest cicada?

Filed under: Africa (Continent) | Anatomy | FAQs | Sounds — Dan @ 7:58 am

Africa is home to the Loudest cicada

A recent BBC article says researcher John Petti as found the answer: Brevisana brevis, an African cicada, reaches 106.7 decibels — with the loudest North American cicada, Megatibicen pronotalis walkeri at 105.9 decibels. Their sound was measured at a distance of 50cm (approximately 20 inches). Specifics about the equipment used and calibration of said equipment is not mentioned.

There are over 3500 types of cicadas in the world, and for now, Brevisana brevisis the king of the insect noisemakers. More information on Petti’s study can be found here. Sound files of Brevisiana brevis.

In North America

The article does introduce room for skepticism and debate, by noting that other species come very close (Diceroprocta apache), that the Megatibicen pronotalis walkeri alarm call reaches 108.9 decibels and a North American study that suggests decibels are correlated to body mass (and Brevisana brevis is not the most massive cicada).
Megatibicen pronotalis photo by Roy Troutman, taken in Batavia, Ohio
Megatibicen pronotalis photo by Roy Troutman, taken in Batavia, Ohio.

In Australia

According to the book Australian Cicadas by M.S. Moulds (New South Wales University Press, 1990) Cyclochila australasiae and Thopha saccata reach nearly 120db at close range. The “at close range” might be the key difference in measuring the sound, as Petti measured at a distance of 50cm.
Double Drummer (Thopha saccata)
Double Drummer (Thopha saccata), a cicada found in Australia, can reach 120db at close range. Photo by Kevin Lee.

What about Magicicada in the U.S.?

Personally, I’ve observed Magicicada cassini choruses achieve between 85 & 86 decibels (link to video), and M. cassini responding to fingersnaps (mimics female wing flicks) at as high as 116 decibels (link to video) 35s in). The 116 decibels level was recorded with the insect standing on the microphone of my Extech 407730. Magicicada choruses have been documented to reach 100 decibels

Magicicada chorus at around 80db:

Some people want to know how loud a cicada can get just because it is a cool fact to know, but others are concerned about noise-induced hearing loss (about which, I am not an expert). Both decibels and prolonged exposure seem to matter. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders page on Noise-Induced Hearing Loss, prolonged exposure to sounds over 85db can cause hearing loss (just above the chorus of a Magicicada). The WebMD harmful noise levels page has chainsaws and leaf blowers in the range of the loudest cicadas. Lessons learned: 1) Make sure you wear hearing protection if you plan on blowing leaves or searching for the loudest cicada, and 2) Do not complain about the cicadas in your yard — complain about your neighbors and their leaf blowers.

Male cicadas, in case you were wondering, use their opercula (flaps on their abdomen) to cover their tympana (the cicadas hearing organs) when they sing, so they don’t damage their own hearing. Cicadas — male and female — listen with their tympana.

August 24, 2014

It is possible to identify Tibicen just after they have molted

Paul Krombholz has come through with an awesome guide to identifying Tibicens just after they have molted. Click the image below for an even larger version. Note that the genus of these cicadas has changed to either Megatibicen or Neotibicen — notes below.

Paul Krombholz's image of recently molted and adult cicadas compared

Notes on the species from Paul:

N. pruinosus [formerly T. pruinosa]—Newly molted adult has darker mesonotum (top of mesothorax) than the very common T. chloromera. Abdomen is a golden orange color. Older adult has dark olive on lateral sides of mesonotum, lighter green below the “arches”.

M. pronotalis (formerly walkeri, marginalis)—Quite large. The reddish brown color can be seen on the mesonotum of newly molted adult. Older adult has solid green pronotum (top of prothorax) and red-brown markings on sides of mesonotum. Below the “arches” the mesonotum color can range from carmel to green. Head is black between the eyes.

N. tibicen [T. chloromerus, T. chloromera]—has large, swollen mesonotum, quite pale in a newly molted adult and almost entirely black in an older adult. Individuals from east coast can have large russet patches on sides of mesonotum. The white, lateral :”hip patches” on the anteriormost abdominal segment are always present, but the midline white area seen in my picture is sometimes absent.

N. davisi—Small. This is a variable species, but all have an oversized head that is strongly curved, giving it a ‘hammerhead’ appearance. Newly molted individuals are usually brown with blueish wing veins that will become brown, but some have more green in wing veins. Some may have pale mesonotums that will become mostly black. Older adults vary from brownish to olive to green markings on pronotum and mesonotum.

M. figuratus [formerly T. figurata]—a largish entirely brown cicada. Newly molted adult has a pink-brown coloration with some blueish hints. Older adult has chestnut-brown markings and no green anywhere. The Head is not very wide in relation to the rest of the body. The small cell at the base of the forewing is black.

M. auletes—a large, wide-bodied cicada. The newly molted adult is very green, but the older adult loses most of the green, usually retaining an olive posterior flange of the pronotum. The dorsal abdomen of the adult has a lot of powdery white on the anterior and posterior segments with a darker band in between.

From my own photos, here’s a sequence of photos of a Neotibicen tibicen tibicen as its colors develop.
Teneral Neotibicen tibicen

Here’s a comparison of two teneral Neotibicen linnei. Note the variation in colors — one green, one pink — from the same grove of trees in New Jersey. Color can vary a lot!
Linnei

August 3, 2014

Iván Jesús Torresano García’s Cicadas of Spain

Iván Jesús Torresano García send us a dozens of cicada photos from Spain, where he resides. According to Iván June is a peak time for cicadas in Spain. Cicadas common to the area are: Cicada orni, Lyristes (old Tibicen) plebejus, Tettigetta argentata, Hilapura varipes, Euryphara contentei (miniature), Tibicina tomentosa, and finally the brownish “Barbara Lusitanica Cicada”.

Iván Jesús Torresano García Four cicadas from Spain

Galleries:

Here are some of these cicadas captured by Iván.

Cicada orni:

Cicada orni is one of the most common cicadas in Spain and all of Europe. The are incredibly well camouflaged.

Tettigettalna argentata:

Hilaphura varipes:

Euryphara contentei:

For more information of the cicadas of Spain, visit Songs of European Singing Cicadas.

August 1, 2014

A teneral female Tibicen tibicen tibicen

Filed under: Neotibicen | Teneral — Tags: — Dan @ 4:19 am

Earlier this week I was lucky enough to find a cicada nymph at a local park in Middletown, New Jersey. I took the cicada home, took some photos and then released it the next day. The cicada turned out to be a female Tibicen tibicen tibicen (formerly T. chloromera) aka a Swamp Cicada.

Female Neotibicen tibicen abdomen

Teneral Neotibicen tibicen

Teneral Neotibicen tibicen

Teneral Neotibicen tibicen

July 27, 2014

Australian Cicada News

Filed under: Australia | L. W. Popple | Video — Dan @ 1:44 pm

It’s Winter in Australia but I have two cool pieces of Australian Cicada news for you.

First, Australian cicada expert and researcher Lindsay Popple has created a new website about the cicadas of Australia.

Also, he’s been placing cicada songs on SoundCloud as well:

Second, Samuel Orr has shared some video of cicadas from Australia and New Zealand on Vimeo. I believe this video will be part of the cicada documentary he is working on.

Australia and New Zealand Cicadas from motionkicker on Vimeo.

Update! L. W. Popple said on Twitter that cicada season will start in Australia in 1 or 2 weeks! Australia has 8 month long cicada season!

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