Cicada Mania

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May 23, 2013

Are you a musician? Do a duet with cicadas!

Filed under: Magicicada | Music | Periodical | Pop Culture — Dan @ 8:51 pm

Update: Here is the show that featured the finished cicada songs: http://wfmu.org/playlists/shows/51182

Are you a musician? Would you go out in the field ( or your yard ) and jam with some cicadas? WFMU DJ Kurt Gottschalk wants you to send him your duets with cicadas!

Visit Send Me Your Insect Duets! WFMU 17-Year Itch Special Forthcoming! to learn more about Kurt’s appeal to musicians.

I want to hear you sing with the cicadas! They’re out in DC and starting to emerge in Jersey. From what I’ve been able to discern there’s little agreement about where they’ll be in NYC.

My friends form the band Blithe Doll are already planning on contributing their cicada collaboration.

Speaking of musicians who have jammed with cicadas, here is David Rothenberg jamming with some 17 year cicadas:

David also has a new album called Bug Music featuring his collaborations with insects!

Last night at the Judson Church in NYC I opened David’s “Richard Robinson: Song of the Cicada (World Premiere), Insect Music, based on the calls, chirps and clicks of various insects” event with a presentation about the 17 Year cicadas. David’s film and music were extraordinary. Here is a review of the event.

Cicada Event

cicadas in Washington Park

A Cicada Kickstarter: Return of the Cicadas

Filed under: Magicicada | Periodical | Pop Culture — Dan @ 8:29 pm

Want to sponsor what could be the greatest cicada documentary of all time? Samuel Orr has a Kickstarter to fund the production of his 17 year cicada documentary Return of the Cicadas.

Rewards for backing the project include cool stuff like the film (download, dvd or bluray depending on your pledge amount) and a fine art photo print.

Just watch Samuel’s trailer for the film. You will want to back this film after seeing the trailer:

Return of the Cicadas from motionkicker on Vimeo.

More information about Samuel and the Kickstarter:

I’m a natural history filmmaker and time-lapse photographer (http://www.motionkicker.com/time-lapse/), and have been following and filming the various broods of periodical cicadas since 2007 (there are multiple groupings of cicadas called broods that come out in different years across the eastern U.S.). I’ve got 200+ hours of footage, and am working towards an hour documentary that focuses on the 17-year varieties as well as cicadas in general. This film is anticipated in 2014, and will be broadcast on PBS afterwards.

May 22, 2013

Finneytown Ohio 17 year Cicada Acceleration

Filed under: Brood VI | Gene Kritsky | Periodical Stragglers | Roy Troutman — Dan @ 11:10 pm

Roy Troutman, Gene Kritsky and his wife Jess witnessed a Magicicada emergence in Finneytown Ohio tonight. It is believed that this could be an acceleration of a new Brood VI, or an eight year acceleration of Brood X.

From Roy:

We had an unexpected emergence in parts of the Cincinnati area last night & I got some pics with my new Canon t4i. Gene [Kritsky] & his wife Jess came out to witness it as well. I would say hundreds emerged in a very small suburb of Cincinnati called Finneytown. This could be 4 year acceleration of the new brood VI that Gene has been talking about verifying in 2017 or 8 year acceleration of Brood X.

Photos of these cicadas by Roy:

Finneytown OH Acceleration Magicicada Exuvia by Roy Troutman

Finneytown OH Acceleration Teneral Magicicada by Roy Troutman 2

Finneytown OH Acceleration Magicicada Nymph by Roy Troutman

Finneytown OH Acceleration Magicicada Exuvia by Roy Troutman 2

Finneytown OH Acceleration Magicicada Exuvia by Roy Troutman 3

Finneytown OH Acceleration Teneral Magicicada by Roy Troutman

Finneytown OH Acceleration Teneral Male Magicicada by Roy Troutman

Finneytown OH Acceleration Teneral Magicicada by Roy Troutman 3

Finneytown OH Acceleration Magicicada Nymph by Roy Troutman 2_jpg

May 19, 2013

Tips for photographing adult Magicicadas for identification purposes

When photographing adult Magicicadas, particularly if you are interested in identifying their species and gender, it is important to photograph them from multiple angles: ventral (bottom) and lateral (left or right) particularly near the head. Please take photos of the dorsal (top), anterior (front), posterior (hind) and other angles, however ventral and left or right are the best sides to help identify the species.

We also encourage you to clean your fingernails and include an item which can be used to determine the size of the insect, like a ruler.

The ventral view allows us to determine the species and sex.

The following photo features a male (left) and female (right) Magicicada septendecim (Linnaeus, 1758). Note the orange striped abdomen, characteristic of the M. septendecim. Also, as with other cicada species, note that the female’s abdomen comes to a point, and the male’s abdomen is thicker and ends with a “blocky-shaped” structure.
Septendecim. Osamu Hikino's Magicicada Photo

The following photo features a female (left) and male (right) Magicicada cassini (Fisher, 1851). Note the lack of distinct orange stripes on the abdomen, characteristic of the M. cassini. Their abdomens are nearly completely black. Also note that the female’s abdomen comes to a point, and the male’s abdomen is thicker and ends with a “blocky-shaped” structure.
Cassini Osamu Hikino's Magicicada Photo

Both these images were taken by the same photographer (Osamu Hikino) and we can use the size of his fingertips (nice clean nails) to compare the size of these two species. The M. cassini is relatively much smaller than the M. septendecim, which is why M. cassini is also known as the “dwarf cicada”.

I don’t have a good photo of the third species, the Magicicada septendecula Alexander and Moore, 1962 [view a photo of M. septendecula on another website]. The M. septendecula is similar to the M. cassini in size (hence smaller than the M. septendecula), but it has orange stripes like the M. septendecim, which is why it is important to get a photo of the left or right side of the insect so we can see the color of the pronotal extension.

The pronotal extension is an extension of the pronotum that lies between the Magicicada’s eye and its wing (outlined in green in the photo below). M. septendecim have orange coloring in that area, which gives us a key way to visually distinguish them from M. septendecula.

Orange marking behind eye used to identify -decim Magicicadas.

If you want to learn more about diagnosing the species and gender of cicadas (all species, not just Magicicada sp.) using photographs, track down the document Overview of Cicada Morphology by Allen F. Sanborn of Barry University.

I don’t want to discourage you from taking amazing photos of cicadas in every position and angle possible using all your fancy macro lenses and whatnot. All cicada photos are awesome, but only a few angles help us identify the insect.

May 18, 2013

Brood II cicada photos from Iselin, NJ

Filed under: Brood II | Magicicada | Periodical | Photos & Illustrations — Dan @ 10:32 am

My friend Nicole DiMaggio sent us these photos of adult Magicicadas taken in Iselin NJ. The emergence is just getting started in New Jersey, and will really kick off next Tuesday when the temps hit the 80s.

Nicole DiMaggio

Nicole DiMaggio

Photos of Brood II Magicicada cicadas from Westfield, NJ by Jim Occi

Filed under: Brood II | Jim Occi | Magicicada | Photos & Illustrations — Tags: — Dan @ 8:57 am

These photos of adult Magicicada cicadas were taken in Westfield, NJ by Jim Occi on May 16th.

Adult Brood II Magicicada septendecim from Westfield NJ by Jim Occi

Adult Brood II Magicicada septendecim from Westfield NJ by Jim Occi

Adult Brood II Magicicada septendecim from Westfield NJ by Jim Occi

Adult Brood II Magicicada septendecim from Westfield NJ by Jim Occi

Adult Brood II Magicicada septendecim from Westfield NJ by Jim Occi

Adult Brood II Magicicada septendecim from Westfield NJ by Jim Occi

Adult Brood II Magicicada septendecim from Westfield NJ by Jim Occi

Adult Brood II Magicicada septendecim from Westfield NJ by Jim Occi

This photo is particularly interesting as the cicadas’s wings were damaged during the ecdysis (molting) process and its tymbal (the ribbed structure that makes the cicada’s sound) is clearly exposed:

Adult Brood II Magicicada septendecim from Westfield NJ by Jim Occi

Brood II cicada photos from Front Royal, Va

Filed under: Brood II | Magicicada | Periodical | Photos & Illustrations — Tags: — Dan @ 8:20 am

Nature photographer Candice Trimble of Front Royal, Va, sent us these Brood II Magicicada photos.

An adult Magicicada septendecim (Linnaeus 1758):
Candice Trimble 02 - Side View

Magicicada exuvia (shell):
Candice Trimble 02 Nymph

Magicicada adult (probably an M. septendecim):
Candice Trimble 02 Face

Photos of a Brood II Magicicada from Madison, NC.

Filed under: Brood II | Magicicada | Photos & Illustrations — Dan @ 7:48 am

These photos of a Magicicada undergoing ecdysis (moulting) in Madison, NC are by photographer Heather James.

Click thumbnail images to see progressively larger versions of the images:

Heather James - Brood II

The “white strings” connecting the teneral (soft) adult cicada to its exuvia (shell, skin) are the old lining of the cicada’s trachea (the tubes through which it breathed).

Heather James - Brood II

May 10, 2013

Cicada chimneys and a nymph under a slate

Filed under: Brood II | Magicicada | Periodical | Video — Dan @ 8:21 pm

I didn’t see any nymphs emerge and undergo ecdysis tonight, but I did find plenty of cicada chimneys and nymphs trapped under slates.

Cicadas build chimneys above their holes, typically after it rains a lot and the soil becomes soft. The chimneys help keep water from rushing into their holes, and they keep ants and other menaces out.

Brood II 2013 - Dan Mozgai - Cicada Chimneys

Brood II 2013 - Dan Mozgai - Cicada Chimneys

Brood II 2013 - Dan Mozgai - Cicada Chimneys

A good place to find cicada nymphs is under backyard slates (or similar objects that cover the ground). Flip over your slates and you might find a nymph tunneling their ways to the side of the slate.

Brood II 17 Year Cicada Nymph trapped under a slate from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

May 9, 2013

Brood II 17 Year Cicadas in New Jersey

Filed under: Brood II | Magicicada | Periodical — Dan @ 9:27 pm

Jersey Cicada

Final update:

Here’s a map of all the towns reported in the comments:


View Towns where the Brood II cicadas emerged in 2013 in a larger map

Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly Magicicada.org) will eventually publish a complete and accurate map of the emergence.

17 year cicadas are about to emerge are currently emerging in New Jersey. I asked cicada super-expert Chris Simon of The Simon Lab at the University of Connecticut for some specifics. The information below is based on Dr. Simon’s notes.

Historically Brood II periodical cicadas have appeared in Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Hunterdon (in the east), Middlesex, Monmouth (“Slight in eastern part”), Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren Counties. Also, you can keep an eye on where cicadas are emerging in New Jersey (and report your own sightings) on Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly Magicicada.org), which has a live map of the emergence.

I’m personally very interested in periodical cicada sightings in Monmouth county — let us know if you spot any there.

Here are some specifics (don’t be dismayed if your town isn’t on the list — they still might appear in your town):

Atlantic County:
– Galloway

Bergen County:
– Alpine (Greenbrook Nature Sanctuary)
– Englewood
– Ft. Lee
– Oakland
– Wyckoff (near Lucine Lorrimer Sanctuary)

Essex County:
– Cedar Grove
– Essex Fells
– Livingston
– Maplewood
– Millburn (South Mountain Reservation)
– Montclair
– North Caldwell
– Short Hills (confirmed in 2013 already)
– Upper Montclair
– West Orange

Middlesex County:
– Edison (confirmed for 2013 – lots of exit holes near the Edison Monument).
– Fords
– Iselin (visually confirmed for 2013)
– Jamesburg
– Metuchen (confirmed in 2013 already)
– Perth Amboy

Mostly north of the Raritan River

Morris County:
– Flanders
– Kinnelton
– Madison
– Rockaway

Passaic County:
– West Milford

Somerset County:
– Bedminster (Pluckemin section)
– Belle Mead
– Bound Brook
– Far Hills
– Rocky Hill
– Warren

Union County:
– Fanwood
– Plainfield
– Summit (Confirmed – see a video)
– Westfield (Confirmed for 2013)

Warren County:
– Port Murray

BTW, what better way to celebrate Brood II in New Jersey like a Brood II tank top:

The Carl


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