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June 28, 2022

Cicada Season Kicks off in New Jersey

Filed under: Exuvia | Leptopsaltriini | Neocicada — Tags: — Dan @ 6:00 am

Updating (9/8) with some photos of an adult male Hieropglyhic cicada.

Hieropglyhic cicada NJ 2022

Hieropglyhic cicada

Updating (6/28) with some more locations: Bass River Park (E Greenbrook Rd), Harrisville Pond, Franklin Parker preserve.

Cicada season started in New Jersey last week with the emergence and singing of Neocicada Hieroglyphica aka the Hieroglyphic cicada. I heard them in Brendan T. Byrne state park and Hammonton. Someone on our Instagram said he heard them in Vineland.

Cicadas.info which specializes in the cicadas of the Mid-Atlantic, has Hieropglyhic cicadas starting around June 8th — this makes sense because they’re found in Florida, as well as more northern states like New Jersey and New York (Long Island).

You can hear their high-pitched screams in this video:

Here is the molted skin of a Hieroglyphic cicada:
Hieroglyphic Cicada

May 12, 2022

Chremistica ribhoi, the World Cup Cicada, is emerging!

Filed under: Chremistica | India | Periodical | Tacuini (Cryptotympanini) — Tags: — Dan @ 4:33 am

Chremistica ribhoi, aka Niangtasar and the World Cup Cicada, is emerging! Chremistica ribhoi is a periodical cicada that lives in India (state of Meghalaya) and emerges every four years. It is nicknamed the World Cup cicada because it emerges the same year as the World Cup soccer/football sports event.

Sudhanya Ray Hajong sent us the following photos and text describing the event:

A molted, teneral (soft) male:
a newly emerged teneral adult of C.ribhoi

The worldcup cicada emergence May 2022

The four year long wait is over for the young and old of the villagers of Saiden village in the
northeastern Indian state of Meghalaya, and if you happen to be around you not fail to
notice the excitement among the young and old, men and women here in Saiden . It is
beginning of May and the World cup cicada or ‘Niangtaser’ as is called by the Bhoi
community has started emerging. The forest of Iewsier located on this a remote corner of
the world is suddenly buzzing with the calls of thousands of ‘Niangtaser’ or Chremistica
ribhoi Hajong & Yaakop, 2013.

Come sunset, one will see young children, boys and girls, and even aged man and
women with a bag carried around their shoulder, a piece of bamboo cane hung by tread
around their neck and a torch in hand – they are conversing in excitement and flocking in
small groups proceeding on trails taking them inside the forest. The atmosphere is almost
festive and everyone is so friendly and smiling expecting eagerly to seek out and pick as
many ‘ Niangtaser’ as possible, to be brought back home for delicious preparation and to
be pickles and dried and kept for months to relish the unique taste that Mother nature has
bestowed.

The nymphs with their powerful forelegs silently dig over ground in the stillness of the
night and one can see the still freshly emerged nymphs covered in soil crawling sluggishly
seeking anything upright to cling upward until they can secure themself on the surface with
their claws, the slow process then begins, with the splitting of the thoracic integument
along the mid dorsal line, the adult gradually pushes out of the shell until they are fully
outside the old exuviae, the wings which were crumpled slowly unfold and the now fully
emerged teneral adult with their fully spread-out wings appear as a beautiful greenish
ethereal glow under the soft light of our headlamps.

Come daylight and the adults now in hundreds and thousands fly out resting in clusters on
tips of twigs and branches of the several bamboos, one would hear the incessant and
almost whistling crescendo of calls of the ‘Niangtaser’ with the rising heat of the sun if you
are just below these trees one would feel the rain like shower drizzling earthward from the
hundreds of adults peeing from the tree tops.

This year though the fear of a fresh COVID resurgence had dampened the spirit of the
villagers of Siden , as no ‘Niangtaser’ Festival could be organised with much fanfare like
the previous emergence years.

The Folklore of the Bhoi people – A sick old women who was transformed into the
peeing ‘Niangtsers’

Long ago as the Bhoi Khasis of Siden village traditionally believed that, there lived an old
women who suddenly fell sick with a strange stomach ailment that made her to go
frequently to calls of nature for her frequent watery discharge. Fearing that her ailment
would spread among the villagers, the village elders finally decided that she was to taken
to the forest and kept separated alone in a bamboo thatch until she could get herself
cured. It is said that, when the villagers next morning went to check on her with food and
water, they were surprised to find they she had strangely vanished, but surprisingly they
found thousands of the cicadas everywhere on the branches of the trees and strangely all
of them were found to be discharging some kind of fluid from the rear of their abdomen.
They were thus lead to believe that the forest sprit feeling pity on her had transformed the
old sick women into thousands of the cicadas, and to this day the old women appear
around the forest of Iewsier in the form of thousands of ‘Niangtasers’ and even now she
still suffers from her stomach ailment and pass frequent watery discharges from the top of
trees.

Will the ‘Niangtaser’ come again and again, after every four years, few village the elders
who narrates how once upon a time ‘Niangtaser were plentiful and widespread; and how
now things have changed and how forest were gone along with many areas from were
‘Niangtaser’ are no more found. They are saddened by this development and tells us that
the number of ‘Niangtaser’is dwindling, forest patches where large number of them
emerges are no longer there, in its place farmlands and houses had appeared, they fear it
is not far when the folklore and the ‘Niangtaser’ that is so relished will vanish and only
remain a folklore of the distant past. The unique gift of mother nature may no longer be
there if we do not check our greed and our want for more and more land and more
material wealth. Village elders like Bah Kret Sungkli caution us that if we do not part our
greedy ways we may have to lose this wonderful gift of mother nature.

By Sudhanya Ray Hajong with able field assistance from my dear Rodeson Thangkiew,
who was inspired by ‘Niangtaser’ and to take up his PhD in cicadas.

A poem by Sudhanya Ray Hajong:
Niangtaser poem

Two nymphs that have emerged from the ground:
nymphs of C.ribhoi just emerges and covered with soil

A molting adult:
emerging adult

A molting adult:
side view of teneral adult with a termite attracted to our headlamp

A molting adult:
teneral adult in process of emergence

There’s also a brood of C. ribhoi that emerges during Leap-years.

May 8, 2022

Magicicada stragglers found in 2022

Filed under: Magicicada | Periodical Stragglers — Dan @ 7:26 am

Here’s the latest map of stragglers from Gene for June 1st:

June 1 map

Gene Kristsky let us know that people are finding Magicada stragglers and reporting them on iNaturalist. It looks like most of the stragglers are in the Brood XIX area currently, but as temperatures warm, we might see others from other Broods.

Be on the lookout in 2022 (or any year)! Any place you see a red dot is a possibility. Even central Massachusettes (former home of Brood XI) and Ontario — maybe so.

Possbile Straggler Locations

Straggler-related facts:

What is a Magicicada:
A Magicicada is a genus of cicada that lives in the United States that typically emerges in 17 or 13-year cycles depending on the species.

They look like this:
Brood X header

What is a Brood:
A Brood is a numbered group of Magicicada cicadas that emerge in a specific series of years.
Example: Brood X (X is the Roman numeral for 10) emerges every 17 years, i.e. 2021, 2038, 2055, etc.

What is a Straggler:
A Straggler is a Magicicada that emerges earlier or later than anticipated.
Example: If a Brood XIX (13-year, next due in 2024) cicada emerges in 2022, we can say it is a straggler that emerged 2 years early.
Stragglers that emerge earlier than expected have also been called “precursors” (Marlatt 1898). I also call them “pioneers”.

April 13, 2022

Cicada Nypmhs

Filed under: Nymphs — Dan @ 8:46 pm

Monday I was doing some landscaping and I found these Magicicada nymphs feeding on the roots of a boxwood shrub. They appear to be third-instar Brood II Magicicada nymphs. 9 years old!

3rd instar Magicicada nymph

3rd instar Magicicada nymph

March 27, 2022

Cicada research published in 2022

Filed under: Papers and Documents — Dan @ 6:26 pm

This is a list of cicada-related research published so far in 2022. 46!

November 2022

  1. Haji, D., Vailionis, J., Stukel, M. et al. Lack of host phylogenetic structure in the gut bacterial communities of New Zealand cicadas and their interspecific hybrids. Sci Rep 12, 20559 (2022). www.nature.com.

October 2022

  1. Allen M. Young, Aiden S. Mahoney, and Jason Canfield “A Multi-year Adult Emergence Study of the Cicada Neotibicen canicularis (Harris) (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) in Wisconsin,” The American Midland Naturalist 188(2), 250-258, (20 October 2022). bioone.org
  2. Hasan, Cecilia & Sutton, Reagan & Replogle, Jessica. (2022). The Presence of Wolbachia in Brood X Cicadas. www.researchgate.net.
  3. Brumfield, K.D., Raupp, M.J., Haji, D. et al. Gut microbiome insights from 16S rRNA analysis of 17-year periodical cicadas (Hemiptera: Magicicada spp.) Broods II, VI, and X. Sci Rep 12, 16967 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-20527-7. www.nature.com.
  4. Costa, G. J., Nunes, V. L., Marabuto, E., Mendes, R., Silva, D. N., Pons, P., Bas, J. M., Hertach, T., Paulo, O. S., & Simões, P. C. (2023). The effect of the Messinian salinity crisis on the early diversification of the Tettigettalna cicadas. Zoologica Scripta, 52, 100– 116. onlinelibrary.wiley.com
  5. Allison M Roth, Sarah M Kent, Elizabeth A Hobson, Gene Kritsky, Shinichi Nakagawa, Personality-mediated speed-accuracy tradeoffs in mating in a 17-year periodical cicada, Behavioral Ecology, Volume 33, Issue 6, November/December 2022, Pages 1141–1152. academic.oup.com
  6. Hoa Quynh Nguyen, Erick Kim, Yoonhyuk Bae, Soyeon Chae, Seongmin Ji, Jiman Heo, Sungsik Kong, Thoa Kim Nguyen, Thai Hong Pham, Yikweon Jang, An effective method for accurate nymphal-stage delimitation of the cicada Hyalessa fuscata, Journal of Asia-Pacific Entomology, Volume 25, Issue 3, 2022, 101952, www.sciencedirect.com.

September 2022

  1. Bergh, James & Nita, M. & Dyer, J.E. & Brandt, S.N. & Cullum, John & Nixon, Laura & Leskey, Tracy. (2022). Spatial distribution of 17-year periodical cicada (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) exuviae and oviposition injury in Mid-Atlantic, USA Apple orchards and implications for management. Crop Protection. 162. 106095. 10.1016/j.cropro.2022.106095. sciencedirect.com.
  2. Diler Haji, Jason Vailionis, Mark Stukel et al. Correlates of host-associated bacterial diversity in New Zealand cicadas and hybrids, 22 September 2022, PREPRINT (Version 1) available at Research Square [https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-1875558/v1] www.researchsquare.com
  3. Kriesberg, Caleb. (2022). Protandrous Arrival in a Population of the Periodical Cicada Magicicada septendecim (Linnaeus) (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) in Montgomery County, Maryland: Addendum to METHODS and RESULTS Sections. researchgate.net.
  4. J.C. Bergh, M. Nita, J.E. Dyer, S.N. Brandt, J.P. Cullum, L.J. Nixon, T.C. Leskey, Spatial distribution of 17-year periodical cicada (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) exuviae and oviposition injury in Mid-Atlantic, USA Apple orchards and implications for management, Crop Protection, Volume 162, 2022, 106095. www.sciencedirect.com
  5. Max Moulds, Michael Frese & M. R. McCurry (2022) New cicada fossils from Australia (Hemiptera: Cicadoidea: Cicadidae) with remarkably detailed wing surface nanostructure, Alcheringa: An Australasian Journal of Palaeontology, www.tandfonline.com
  6. Kriesberg, Caleb. (2022). Emergence Patterns and Species Distribution of the Brood X 17-Year Periodical Cicada, Magicicada, Davis (Hemiptera: Cicadidae), near Downtown Silver Spring, Montgomery County, Maryland, 2021. 8. 2. www.researchgate.net.
  7. Gurcel, Kevin & Stéphane, Puissant. (2022). Une Cigale dans le blanc des yeux : synopsis d’une aberration chromatique très rare chez Cicadetta montana (Scopoli, 1772) (Hemiptera, Cicadidae). Bulletin de la Société entomologique de France. 127. 259-271. www.researchgate.net.

August 2022

  1. Moulds, Max & MARSHALL, DAVID. (2022). New genera and new species of Western Australian cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadidae). Zootaxa. 5174. 451-507. 10.11646/zootaxa.5174.5.1. mapress.com.
  2. Takahiro Ishimaru, Ikkyu Aihara. (2022). Temporal structure of two call types produced by competing for male cicadas. bioRXiv. www.biorxiv.org (preprint).
  3. Sota, T. (2022). Life-cycle control of 13- and 17-year periodical cicadas: A hypothesis and its implication in the evolutionary process. Ecological Research, 37( 6), 686– 700. esj-journals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com
  4. Cassandra L. Ettinger, Brian Lovett, Matt T. Kasson, Jason E. Stajich. (2022). Metagenome-Assembled Genomes of Bacteria Associated with Massospora cicadina Fungal Plugs from Infected Brood VIII Periodical Cicadas. Microbiology Resource Announcements. e00413-22. 11. 10. journals.asm.org.
  5. Jason E. Stajich, Brian Lovett, Cassandra L. Ettinger, Derreck A. Carter-House, Tania Kurbessoian, Matt T. Kasson. (2022). An Improved 1.5-Gigabase Draft Assembly of Massospora cicadina (Zoopagomycota), an Obligate Fungal Parasite of 13- and 17-Year Cicadas. Microbiology Resource Announcements. e00367-22. 11. 10. journals.asm.org.

July 2022

June 2022

  1. Giroux, Marjolaine & Legault, Audrey & Bede, J.C.. (2022). Flesh flies (Diptera: Sarcophagidae) attracted to dog-day cicada (Neotibicen canicularis (Harris) Hemiptera: Cicadidae) carcasses in Québec, Canada. 2022. researchgate.net.
  2. Hong, Jung-Hee & Lee, Young-Cheol. (2022). Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Cicadidae Periostracum Extract and Oleic Acid through Inhibiting Inflammatory Chemokines Using PCR Arrays in LPS-Induced Lung inflammation In Vitro. Life. 12. 857. 10.3390/life12060857. mdpi.com.
  3. Lalremsanga, H.T. & Muansanga, Lal & Malsawmdawngliana, Fanai & Khawlhring, Marova. (2022). A report on the occurrence of the cicada Callogaeana festiva (Fabricius, 1803) (Insecta: Cicadidae) from Mizoram, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa. 14. 21321-21323. 10.11609/jott.7550.14.6.21321-21323. threatenedtaxa.org.
  4. Li, Qian & Ji, Aihong & Shen, Huan & Han, Qingfei & Qin, Guodong. (2022). The forewing of a black cicada Cryptotympana atrata (Hemiptera, Homoptera: Cicadidae): Microscopic structures and mechanical properties. Microscopy Research and Technique. 85. 10.1002/jemt.24173. analyticalsciencejournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com.
  5. Luu, Hoang & Pham, Thai & Bui, Thu. (2022). Research on assessment of the diversity and similarity of cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) in the Northwest region. Ministry of Science and Technology, Vietnam. 64. 27-31. 10.31276/VJST.64(1).27-31. vjst.vn.
  6. Luu, Hoang & Pham, Thai & Bui, Thu. (2022). The composition and distribution of the Cicadidae family (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha) from Northwestern in Vietnam. Ministry of Science and Technology, Vietnam. 64. 24-27. 10.31276/VJST.64(6).24-27. vjst.vn.
  7. Mora-Rubio, Carlos. (2022). Contributions to the distribution of the Iberian endemism Hilaphura varipes (Hemiptera, Cicadidae). Boletin – Asociacion Espanola de Entomologia. 46. 77-82. researchgate.net
  8. Owen, Christopher & Marshall, David & Wade, Elizabeth & Meister, Russ & Goemans, Geert & Kunte, Krushnamegh & Moulds, Max & Hill, Kathy & Villet, Martin & Pham, Thai & Kortyna, Michelle & Lemmon, Emily & Lemmon, Alan & Simon, Chris. (2022). Detecting and Removing Sample Contamination in Phylogenomic Data: An Example and its Implications for Cicadidae Phylogeny (Insecta: Hemiptera). Systematic Biology. 10.1093/sysbio/syac043. academic.oup.com.
  9. Wang Cheng-Bin, ??? & Liu, Peng-Yu. (2022). A new species of Polyneura Westwood, 1842 from Yunnan, China (Hemiptera, Cicadidae, Cicadinae). Biodiversity Data Journal. 10. 84554. 10.3897/BDJ.10.e84554. pensoft.net. Image.

May 2022

  1. Brown, Daniel & Kotsani, Natalia. (2022). A Stochastic Modeling of the Cicada Chorus. www.researchgate.net
  2. Figueroa-Rodríguez, Rosa & Gálvez-Marroquín, Luis & Martinez, Misael & Cruz López, Jesús Alberto & Ariza-Flores, Rafael & Alonso, Moises & Sánchez-García, José & García-Mayoral, Luis. (2022). Quantification of direct and indirect damage caused by Diceroprocta bulgara (Distant) (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) in lime. Agro Productividad. 10.32854/agrop.v15i4.2054. revista-agroproductividad.org.
  3. Heath, James & Heath, Maxine & Sanborn, Allen. (2022). Cold cicadas and hot rocks: Thermal responses and thermoregulation in some New Zealand cicadas (Insecta: Hemiptera: Cicadidae: Cicadettinae: Cicadettini). Journal of Thermal Biology. 107. 103273. 10.1016/j.jtherbio.2022.103273. sciencedirect.com.
  4. Lee, Young June. (2022). A new genus and species of the subtribe Leptopsaltriina (Hemiptera: Cicadidae: Leptopsaltriini) from Sabah, Malaysia. Journal of Asia-Pacific Biodiversity. 15. 10.1016/j.japb.2022.05.006. sciencedirect.com.
  5. Popple, Lindsay & Emery, David. (2022). Five new species of Yoyetta Moulds (Hemiptera: Cicadidae: Cicadettinae) from south-eastern Australia. Zootaxa. 5141. 401-441. 10.11646/zootaxa.5141.5.1. mapress.com.
  6. Setälä, Heikki, Szlavecz, Katalin, Pullen, Jamie D., Parker, John D., Huang, Yumei, Chang, Chih-Han. 2022. Acute Resource Pulses from Periodical Cicadas Propagate to Belowground Food Webs but Do Not Affect Tree Performance. Ecology e3773. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecy.3773 esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com

April 2022

  1. Marshall, David C. On the spelling of the name of Cassin’s 17-Year Cicada, Magicicada cassini (Fisher, 1852) (Hemiptera: Cicadidae). 2022. Zootaxa 5125 (2): 241–245. 10.11646/zootaxa.5125.2.8 mapress.com.
  2. Moulds, Max & Marshall, David & Hutchinson, Paul. (2022). Pericallea katherina, a new cicada genus and species from Western Australia (Hemiptera: Cicadidae: Cicadettini). Australian Entomologist. 49. 1-14. researchgate.net.
  3. Shi, Peijian & Jiao, Yabing & Niklas, Karl & Li, Yirong & Guo, Xuchen & Yu, Kexin & Chen, Long & Hurd, Lawrence. (2022). Sexual Dimorphism in Body Size and Wing Loading for Three Cicada Species. Annals of the Entomological Society of America. academic.oup.com/.

March 2022

  1. Belenguier, Luc. (2022). Tettigettalna argentata (Olivier 1790) (Hemiptera: Cicadidae), une nouvelle cigale pour le département de l’Allier. BIOM – Revue scientifique pour la biodiversité du Massif central. 3. revues.bu.uca.fr.
  2. Emery, David & Emery, Nathan & Hutchinson, Paul & Ong, Simon. (2022). Two new species of Tryella Moulds, 2003 (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) from Western Australia and Northern Territory. Australian Entomologist. 49. 23-42. researchgate.net.
  3. Liang, Shih-Hsiung & Lee, Lin-Lee & Shieh, Bao-Sen. (2022). Female preference for song frequency in the cicada Mogannia formosana Matsumura (Hemiptera: Cicadidae). Behavioural Processes. 197. 104626. sciencedirect.com.
  4. Maes, Jean. (2022). Zammara smaragdula (Homoptera: Cicadidae) reporte nuevo para la fauna de Nicaragua 1. REVISTA NICARAGUENSE DE ENTOMOLOGIA, 268.. 267. 1-22. 10.5281/zenodo.6554509. zenodo.org.
  5. Yen, Luu & Pham, Thai & Constant, Jérôme. (2022). A NEW SPECIES OF Platylomia Stål, 1870 (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) FROM VIETNAM, WITH A KEY TO SPECIES. ACADEMIA JOURNAL OF BIOLOGY. 44. 23-31. 10.15625/2615-9023/16757. vjs.ac.vn.

February 2022

  1. ?, ??. (2022). Enrichment and Screening of Several Micronutrients in Cicada Flower Fruiting Body. Hans Journal of Food and Nutrition Science. 11. 21-26. hanspub.org.
  2. Perkovich, C., & Ward, D. (2022). Changes in white oak (Quercus alba) phytochemistry in response to periodical cicadas: Before, during, and after an emergence. Ecology and Evolution, 12, e8839. onlinelibrary.wiley.com
  3. Shi, Cuie & Song, Wenlong & Gao, Jian & Yan, Shoubao & Guo, Chen & Zhang, Tengfei. (2022). Enhanced production of cordycepic acid from Cordyceps cicadae isolated from a wild environment. Brazilian Journal of Microbiology. pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
  4. sciencedirect.com.

January 2022

  1. Hoang Yen Luu, Hong Thai Pham, Thu Quynh Bui. Research on assessment of the diversity and similarity of cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) in the Northwest region. Vietnam Forest Museum, Forestry Inventory and Planning Institute. Vietnam National Museum of Nature, VAST3. Graduate University of Science and Technology, VAST Received 8 November 2021; accepted 14 December 2021. vjst.vn.

Megatibicen auletes singing at dusk in Brendan T Byrne State Park in New Jersey on July 15th 2021

Filed under: Megatibicen | Sounds | Tacuini (Cryptotympanini) | United States | Video — Tags: , — Dan @ 6:46 am

Here’s a video of a Megatibicen auletes cicada singing at dusk in Brendan T Byrne State Park in New Jersey on July 15th, 2021.

* Note as of 2023 the name of this cicada has changed to Megatibicen grossus. You can also call it a Northern Dusk-Signing Cicada.

Neotibicen lyricen molting in New Jersey July 2021

Filed under: Molting | Neotibicen | Nymphs | Tacuini (Cryptotympanini) | Teneral | United States — Dan @ 5:39 am

Here are some Neotibicen lyricen molting in New Jersey July 2021.

Rich caramel eyes; blues & pinks in pronotal collar, legs, and mesonotum; green wings (that will stay green) and orange abdomen.

Neotibicen lyricen New Jersey July 2021

Neotibicen lyricen New Jersey July 2021

Neotibicen lyricen New Jersey July 2021 02

Molting Neotibicen tibicen cicadas

Filed under: Molting | Neotibicen | Tacuini (Cryptotympanini) | Teneral | United States — Tags: — Dan @ 5:10 am

Here’s some photos of Molting Neotibicen tibicen tibicen cicadas taken in New Jersey in July of 2021.

Neotibicen tibicen tibicen July 2021

Neotibicen tibicen tibicen July 2021

Neotibicen tibicen tibicen July 2021

Neotibicen tibicen tibicen July 2021

Neotibicen tibicen tibicen July 2021

Neotibicen tibicen tibicen July 2021

February 26, 2022

Unique Cicada website from Japan

Filed under: Japan — Dan @ 9:18 am

Unique Cicada” (that is how Chrome translates it) is a large blog featuring many photos of cicadas from around the world. The site is owned by @musinomushi on Twitter. Instantly one of the premier cicada websites.

The site is categorized by cicada tribes, for example, Carinetini, Cryptotympanini and Zammarini.

Here’s what it looks like translated to English by Chrome.
Unique Cicada

January 30, 2022

What are cicadas?

Filed under: FAQs — Dan @ 1:02 pm

Magicicada septendecim
Magicicada septendecim aka 17-year Pharaoh Cicada.

Cicadas (Insecta: Hemiptera: Cicadidae) are insects, best known for the songs sung by most, but not all, male cicadas. Males sing by flexing their tymbals, which are drum-like organs found in their abdomens. Small muscles rapidly pull the tymbals in and out of shape. The cicada’s primarily hollow abdomen intensifies the sound.

tymbals
An illustration of cicada tymbals from C.L. Marlatt’s The Periodical Cicada. c shows the muscles and tendons connected to the tymbals, and d & e shows the bending of the tymbal.

Female and some male cicadas will also make a sound by flicking their wings, but it isn’t the same as the sound for which cicadas are known. Listen to some of the songs cicadas sing.

Cicadas belong to the order Hemiptera, suborder Auchenorrhyncha, superfamily Cicadoidea and families Cicadidae (the vast majority of cicadas) or Tettigarctidae (only two species). There are five subfamilies of Cicadidae: Derotettiginae, Tibicininae, Tettigomyiinae, Cicadettinae, and Cicadinae. Leafhoppers, spittlebugs, and jumping plant lice are close relatives of the cicada. Hemiptera is different from other insects in that both the nymph and adult forms have a beak (aka rostrum), which they use to suck fluids called xylem from plants. This is how they both eat and drink.

A feeding cicada.
A Magicicada drinking from a tree. Photo by Roy Troutman.

The body of a cicada is composed of a head, thorax & abdomen. The head features two antennae, two compound eyes, three simple eyes (ocelli), a clypeus that connects the beak to the head (the clypeus looks like the grill of a combustion vehicle). The thorax features two sets of wings (forewings & hindwings), six sets of legs, spiracles for breathing, opercula covering the tympana (“eardrums”), and in males of species that have them, tymbals & tymbal covers. The abdomen features tergites (dorsal) & sternites (ventral), more spiracles for breathing, and reproductive organs. Cicadidae and Tettigarctidae have major differences in anatomy, which you can learn about here.

The Latin root for the word for cicada is cicada. Cicadas are called semi in Japan, cigale in France, and cigarra in Spain. Names for cicadas in countries around the world. The pronunciation of the word cicada depends on your local dialect. You can say “si-Kah-da” or “si-kay-da”.

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